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A better deal for kids in the budget? Democrats and republicans Say ‘yes’

Ann Challet | 1/8/2014, 9:53 a.m.
June Jimenez of Silver Spring, Md. was pregnant when she was laid off from her job at a public affairs ...

— The agency helped Arias apply, and three weeks later, her daughter was accepted into the program. Jaslene has developmental disabilities, and Arias says that the teachers “offered her important structure and a regular daily routine” that, in addition to therapy, have helped with managing her special needs.

Jaslene will start kindergarten next year, and Arias says that Early Head Start is now helping her with her younger child, who is showing signs of a disorder that also affects his sister.

Democrats and Republicans recently reached a budget deal that would restore some of the funding to programs that were affected by sequestration. First Focus reports that if sequestration relief were to be applied proportionally to children’s programs, about $3.6 billion federal dollars would be restored to these initiatives in 2014, including $1.8 billion for K-12 education and $370 million for Head Start.

The poll found that when voters are asked to prioritize deficit reduction or protecting investments in children, 31 percent of respondents place a higher priority on investments in children and 41 percent rate the two options as equally important. “Voters reject what they consider a false choice,” says Walz. “What this shows is that 72 percent of voters reject that the way to reduce the budget deficit is to cut children’s programs.”

“Congress has struggled to prove responsive to the concerns of the American people,” he says. “What the current deal does, in a nutshell, is create an opportunity for Congress to undo some of the damage done in this budget year.”

(This article is part of ongoing coverage by New America Media on the Affordable Care Act, supported by The Atlantic Philanthropies.)