While Congress may have averted the fiscal cliff for now, the new Congress will have its work cut out for it with a number of diverse policy issues vying for attention. In the midst of these discussions, organizations like Goodwill continue to take advantage of opportunities to educate new members about our mission of providing job training and other community based programs to people with barriers to employment.
As the 113th Congress gets underway, it will renew its focus on how to quickly reduce federal spending – debating targeted spending cuts to avoid sequestration which was postponed for two months in the fiscal cliff deal, and also needing to find an agreement on how to extend the nation’s debt limit. Lawmakers will also have to decide how to fund the government, given it is operating under a continuing resolution set to expire the end of March.
Goodwill looks forward to Congress addressing several other issues of importance to the enterprise and the people we serve including reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Workforce Investment Act, the Older Americans Act and the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program.
Many state legislatures will also reconvene this month after passing nearly 30,000 new laws last year. For the past two years, most states focused primarily on budget cuts and generating new revenues, leading to an increase in state and local initiatives to tax and charge fees to nonprofits. This year, expect states to focus on implementing health care reform, new academic standards, helping veterans and funding infrastructure.
The New Year will provide many opportunities for Goodwill advocates to engage with their federal, state and local lawmakers to help strengthen our public policy influence, and protect the vulnerable populations that we have the privilege to serve.