What Election Results Could Mean for Goodwill®
November 8, 2012
With the election behind us, bleary-eyed after a late night watching the election results, concessions, and acceptance speeches, Beltway insiders are spending the week trying to understand what happened, why, and how it will shape the legislative landscape. This year, despite the expenditure of about $1 billion and a lot of talk about voter dissatisfaction, the post-election landscape looks pretty much as it did before election night.
So now what?
First, Congress is scheduled to reconvene next week to take care of unfinished business that cannot wait until the new 113th Congress convenes – most importantly, a deal that averts automatic spending cuts from taking effect with the start of the new year. Rather than hammering out a bipartisan deal that cuts $1.2 trillion over 10 years once and for all as required under the Budget Control Act, the “lame duck” Congress is expected to pass a deal that temporarily delays the automatic spending cuts for a few months.
The president insists upon a balanced approach to deficit reduction that blends spending cuts with increased revenues. With Bush-era tax breaks set to expire, unless Congress acts, the president is in a strong position to push for tax reforms as part of the final deficit-reduction deal. As a result, the 113th Congress is likely to spend a great deal of time debating deficit reduction and tax reform early next year.
In addition, the president has promised to push for legislation that will reform our immigration laws. It is unclear whether Congressional Republicans will strongly oppose such an effort; however, exit polls show that minorities – a growing portion of voters – heavily favored Democrats, while white males – a shrinking portion of voters – heavily favor Republicans. The trend may give Republicans cause to entertain support for immigration reforms that may attract minority votes in years to come. Under such a scenario, the new Congress may also give immigration reform a great deal of attention next year.
What does this all mean for Goodwill? First, Goodwill continues to urge members of Congress not to allow a deficit-reduction deal to deeply cut non-defense discretionary spending, which includes many programs that support local Goodwills’ efforts to help people to find jobs and advance in careers.
In addition, several laws that shape the nation’s job-training and education programs are due to be reauthorized next year. As a result, Goodwill believes that the 113th Congress has a strong opportunity to create a cohesive and broad workforce system that leverages the unique strengths and resources that numerous systems bring to the table, while removing systemic barriers that allow people to fall through the cracks. However, it is unclear whether Congress will turn its attention to such an effort if its attention is fixed on deficit reduction, tax reform, and immigration reform. However, especially with unemployment still close to 8 percent, Congress should make such an effort a high priority.
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