NAPAWF Fiscal Cliff Statement
For immediate release:
Nov. 30, 2012
Washington, D.C.– The National Asian American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) today expressed concern over the looming “fiscal cliff” and its potentially devastating impact on Asian and Pacific Islander (API) women if Congress does not take proper action.
NAPAWF opposes the bill proposed by House leadership in May, which devastatingly cuts programs vital to API women and their families, and any similar legislation. That bill makes cuts to Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Social Services Block Grant and the refundable Child Tax Credit.
These cuts would undoubtedly harm API women. Medicaid plays a critical role in combating health disparities for API women. API women’s health disparities include high rates of unintended pregnancies and use of abortion care among particular API ethnic subgroups, lower utilization of contraceptives, and lower rates of breast and cervical cancer screenings. Nearly 70% of Medicaid enrollees are women, including 6% of API women. These numbers are even higher for certain API subgroups like Southeast Asians, 20% of whom rely on Medicaid. Stripping funding from the ACA will similarly mean less access to basic reproductive health services.
Additionally, federal programs for education are at risk of being severely cut. The National Education Association estimates that sequestration could affect more than nine million students and cut 78,400 education jobs in its first year. This particularly impacts student achievement and a disproportionate amount of women, who make up the majority of teachers.
According to the 2012 National Asian American Survey (NAAS), the top budget priorities for APIs are public schools, health care, economic assistance for the needy, and social security. Any budget plan must protect key programs that API women and their families depend on for their health, education, and basic needs as they age.
NAAS also reports that 67% of APIs support raising taxes on high earners to reduce the deficit. This is significant (63%) even among those within the wealthiest 2%. NAPAWF urges Congress to resist the pressure to agree to a bad deal that cuts programs vital to API women and families and fails to make the wealthy pay their fair share. NAPAWF supports allowing the tax breaks for the richest 2% to expire while extending cuts for the middle class.
NAPAWF supports a balanced approach—one that includes both new revenue and spending cuts—and urges Congress and the Administration to come together to pass such legislation.