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CDF: Federal Budget Makes Investment in South Dakota Kids

April 2, 2009

Washington, D.C. – Both the U.S. House and Senate are expected to vote on the budget resolution this week. The Children's Defense Fund (CDF), a nonprofit group that has advocated for children for more than 35 years, hopes Congress will include President Obama's priorities.

Ashley White with the CDF says the President's budget demonstrates a renewed national commitment to children, families and the nation's economic future. She says it makes huge strides by providing $634 billion for health reform, refundable tax credits for families with children and early childhood development.

"In South Dakota alone, more than 18,000 children are uninsured and more than 32,000 live in poverty. In this economic crisis, more and more families in South Dakota, as well as across the nation, are struggling to just get along. We hope Congress will include all the priorities outlined in Obama's budget, so we can help the nation get back on a path to economic stability and leave our children with a more promising future."

Opponents fear the President's budget will create large, unsustainable deficits; however, White says the issue is more about restoring America's economic stability for today and tomorrow.

"Specifically, the Children's Defense Fund is pushing for health reform for all children, which is something we think everyone can get behind, because providing insurance for children is both morally right and economically right. It helps get them started on the right foot and healthy, so we can have a healthier workforce in the future. These are our children; this issue shouldn't be divided on ideological terms."

White says the budget takes a huge step toward improving the lives of South Dakota children by making sure they're healthy and productive. Making the earned-income and children's tax credits permanent will help lift more than 13 million American children out of poverty, she adds, including the 32,000 in South Dakota.

David Law, Public News Service - SD