What You Need to Know About the 2012 Proposed Fiscal Budget

With cuts to health care programs and education grants and changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food program, the federal 2012 budget proposed by House Republicans would be devastating for Latino families, said officials at the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda on Thursday.

With Latinos numbering 50.5 million and Latino students making up 23 percent of the nation’s school-age children, “it should be obvious that the future of America is inextricably linked to the success of the Latino community,” wrote NHLA Chair Lillian Rodriguez Lopez in a letter sent to members of Congress along with a report detailing how the budget plan falls short. “A budget that cripples the Hispanic-American community cripples America.”

Among the report’s concerns about the proposed budget:

*It would cut Medicaid by $2.17 trillion over 10 years, making it even harder for over 16 million Latinos who lack health insurance to gain access.

*It would convert SNAP into a block grant. That, says the report, would lead to states having limited amounts of funds available for food stamp benefits, which would create reduced benefits and waiting lists at a time when 42 percent of Latino families with children participate in SNAP.

*It would cut Pell Grants to pre-stimulus levels, which would make it harder for the 1 million Latino college students who depend on the grants to pay for higher ed.

*It would cut about $400 billion from scores of discretionary programs in the areas of education, job training, housing and nutrition—programs that serve low-income Latinos and their families.