The Administration released their skinny budget, known as “America First Budget” in mid-March, which was a rough outline of his spending priorities, and included $54 billion in cuts to over 60 programs. Now, we are hearing more details about the proposed cuts from the Administration in, “A New Foundation for American Greatness” which was released on May 23, 2017.
Like many people and organizations who read the proposed budget, Goodwill Industries International, Inc. is concerned that the FY18 budget request hampers funding that allows local Goodwill® organizations to do more to help people find jobs and advance their careers. Goodwill is supportive of the focus on apprenticeships within the budget request. However, the budget request also proposes a 15 percent cut to Education Department grants that help states fund career and technical education. It would slash Labor Department funding for training and employment services by 36 percent, and eliminates the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). SCSEP provides paid, internship-like work experiences to unemployed older Americans looking to return to work. Older veterans and individuals with disabilities receive priority service through SCSEP and would be disproportionately harmed if the Administration’s proposal is approved. Finally, the budget includes a cut to the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) block grant and other programs that provide basic living standards, including nutrition assistance.
If organizations like Goodwill are expected to address an increase need of Americans relying on their services, Congress and the Administration should be supportive of expanding government’s funding role in the public private partnership while encouraging the private sector to engage as well. Less funding for these essential programs equates to less opportunities for individuals and working families who rely on them the most.
The House and Senate Budget Committees plan to mark up their fiscal year 2018 resolutions after the Memorial Day recess, and Goodwill Industries® urges Congress to reject this budget. Stay informed on budget updates and ways in which you can support our advocacy efforts via our Legislative Action Center.