In America, we don't kick people when they're down, particularly children.
Today in Kentucky, more than 262,000 children live in a family that is trying to get by on less than $22,050 a year. More than one in four Kentucky families had difficulty buying food in the last year.
But even during this recession, because of the success of the Kentucky Children's Health Insurance Program and Medicaid, more than 460,000 children have health insurance.
In these tough economic times, programs that lend a hand to families down on their luck are more important than ever.
We call on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the seven other members of Kentucky's delegation to work with the 12 members of the Super Committee and affirm their support for children by protecting the programs children and their families need.
Children make up a quarter of our population, and are the foundation of our future. They are also some of our most vulnerable. Over the past five years, the number of children in poverty living in Kentucky has increased significantly. Children who grow up poor have a higher likelihood of unemployment as adults. They are more likely to suffer health problems and commit crimes.
Programs like CHIP, Medicaid, the child tax credit, and food aid have helped millions of hardworking families weather the recession.
For example, more than 556,000 students in Kentucky rely on the school lunch program and 43 percent of kids are covered by Medicaid.
If not for this safety net, more would go hungry and more parents would know the powerless feeling of being unable to help a sick child.
If we are to remain a great nation we must ensure that today's kids are given every chance to succeed. Programs that help kids are a good long-term investment. We owe our children more than a fiscally sound nation. We owe them the chance for health, happiness and prosperity.
Americans recognize that our national deficit must be addressed but oppose balancing the budget on the backs of kids. For the first time in decades, Americans believe that the next generation of children will fare worse than their parents.
If we want to recapture the American dream and do right by our children, McConnell, Kentucky's other delegation members and the supercommittee can start by not cutting kids.