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As the August 2 deadline for action on the debt ceiling draws near, your U.S. senators and representative need to hear that vulnerable children, families, seniors, and people with disabilities should not be harmed by deficit-reduction efforts. Will you contact your Members of Congress today?

The Treasury Department warns of a government default if the debt limit is not raised by August 2. Credit rating agencies are considering downgrading U.S. credit rating, which would create enormous turmoil in the global economy. Some states and cities could also face credit downgrades.

In an effort to reach a compromise on the debt ceiling, both parties have floated proposals that would make significant cuts to federal spending -- between $1 and $3 trillion over the next 10 years. The bulk of these proposed cuts focus on the 20 percent of the federal budget referred to as non-military, discretionary spending. This small slice of the pie targets safety-net programs that support vulnerable people here in Ohio and across the country.

It includes programs like SNAP (food stamps), WIC, the Workforce Investment Act, TANF, the Head Start Program, and the Older Americans Act.

Cuts in these areas would have a devastating effect on our friends and neighbors in Ohio who cannot put food on the table for their families, or who need help getting back to work after being laid off. These cuts would compound reductions to health, human service, and early care & education programs in the state budget passed last month.

Click here to email or call your Members of Congress now and send a message:

Protect programs for low-income and vulnerable people in the federal budget, and in any deal concerning the debt ceiling and default crisis. We can get our nation's fiscal house in order without doing so on the backs of those who are most vulnerable. The deficit should be reduced in a way that protects the safety net for struggling families, children, seniors, and people with disabilities. I call on you, as my elected official, to make a nonpartisan commitment that the most vulnerable shall be protected.

Thank you for taking action, and stay tuned for upcoming webinars that will help you learn more about the federal budget and its impact on Ohio's safety net.

If you are interested in a quick primer on other proposals that have been debated this month in Washington, check out this Debt Ceiling Cheat Sheet: 8 Possible Plans.

Will Petrik, Outreach Director