HRC Blog

Tell Congress: Act Now to Avoid Fiscal Cliff and Protect Vital Programs for LGBT People

HRC Flag; US Capitol; LGBTThis post comes from Robin Maril, HRC's Legislative Counsel for Administrative Advocacy:

With the election behind us, Congress is now returning to work facing a financial crisis.  Mandatory government spending cuts are set to take effect automatically at the first of the year unless Congress takes action. 

These cuts, referred to as sequestration, will require $600 billion in cuts in defense and domestic programs.  The impact of these drastic, across the board cuts will be tremendous.  Programs designed to serve the most vulnerable Americans are among those that are threatened, including programs that provide a vital lifeline for thousands of LGBT people across the country.  If sequestration cuts occur, it is estimated that nearly ten thousand low-income people will lose access to life-saving medicines under the AIDS Drug Assistance Program.  Hundreds of millions of dollars will be stripped from federal programs that provide treatment and housing to the most vulnerable individuals living with HIV and AIDS.  Cuts to staff and resources could also stymie the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes, including those against LGBT people.  These cuts would be a devastating set-back.  Budgets for long-awaited programs focused on the unique needs of our community, like the National LGBT Aging Resource Center and the LGBT Refugee Resource Center, could be slashed if not cut entirely.    

These cuts are expected to impact many other critical programs that disproportionately serve low-income Americans – from early childhood education and vaccinations, to meals for older people in need, to job training and education for dislocated workers.  In these difficult economic times, there’s no doubt that tough choices need to be made. But Congress needs to take a balanced approach to ensure that we do not pull the safety net out from under the most vulnerable Americans. 

Send a letter to your Representative and Senators today. Tell them that the time has come to work alongside President Obama and to come to an agreement on a budget that protects the federal programs that serve those Americans most in need.

Take action now.

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