The Trump administration's harmful and immoral attack on children
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Over the past three years, President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Ohio governor tests negative in second coronavirus test MORE and his administration have engaged in a sweeping attack on our nation’s children by working to destroy regulations essential to their health and well-being. Our committee recently conducted hearings on this dangerous onslaught.

We learned that the administration’s attack on the social infrastructure is exacerbating childhood hunger, poverty, and poor health outcomes. Medical experts, social workers, school officials, parents and policymakers all agree that the administration’s policies have been a disaster for families and children.

And the president is just warming up. As his administration proposes slashing Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, it also seeks to recalculate the federal poverty level and reduce eligibility for families that rely on safety net programs to survive. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, more than 300,000 children could lose comprehensive coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program in roughly 10 years, and about 40,000 infants and young children could lose benefits through the Women, Infants, and Children program. These programs provide food, nutrition counseling, and breastfeeding support.

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The administration is proposing to eviscerate federal fair housing accountability standards, which threatens to worsen the cycle that traps children in communities of concentrated poverty across the country. According to the National Fair Housing Alliance, “this proposed rule is the antithesis of what we need, which are resources, commitment, resolve, and a strong rule to promote fair housing.”

The administration is trying to take food out of the mouths of children across the country by reducing eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and by creating roadblocks to participation in the National School Lunch Program. If the administration’s various proposals had been implemented in 2018, “3.7 million fewer people and 2.1 million fewer households would have received SNAP, and annual benefits would have decreased by $4.2 billion,” according to the Urban Institute.

The administration also proposes to increase children’s exposure to toxins by gutting regulations that limit the amount of pollution that corporations can release into the air. There has been bipartisan opposition to this extreme plan. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) warned:

“The gains we have made over the past decade to protect children and families from dangerous mercury pollution should not be lost. The mercury rule has been a success, and changing it just doesn’t make sense.”

Scientific research has shown that children who are exposed to dangerous toxins, denied health care, live in concentrated poverty, and go hungry do worse in school, suffer more long-term health conditions, and earn far less over their lifetimes than their peers.

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After we announced this series of hearings, a network of religious organizations representing millions of people of faith across the United States wrote to our Committee:

“As faith organizations, we believe that God dwells in each human soul, and that each person has the right to live with dignity and access to basic necessities in a safe and sustainable environment. The federal government has a moral obligation to help those in need of assistance and ensure that people have equal opportunity to live into their potential and contribute to their communities. We encourage these hearings as a meaningful form of oversight that will help hold our government accountable for its efforts to make life harder for families who are already struggling, thereby threatening the health and well-being of so many children.”

These hearings showed how the combined effect of the administration’s policies is threatening to devastate an entire generation of at-risk children, impairing their prospects for healthy lives in the future.

Unfortunately, rather than reversing course, President Trump is doubling down. Last week, the president sent Congress his budget proposal for 2021, and he is proposing even more draconian cuts to critical programs like SNAP, Medicaid, and CHIP. As a result, instead of mitigating the negative effects of the administration’s harmful policies, the worst may still be yet to come.

Maloney is chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Connolly is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, Raskin is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Krishnamoorthi is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, and Rouda is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment.