Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations – Congressional leaders agreed to a 2-year budget deal which increases federal spending caps for defense and non-defense discretionary accounts for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019. The increases for non-defense accounts are $63 billion and $68 billion, respectively. This allows Congress to avoid sequestration and negotiate spending bills to complete the FY2018 funding cycle – the budget deal included another continuing resolution through March 23, 2018.
Congressional Appropriators are currently dividing those additional funds amongst the various subcommittees – the most important for workforce development being Labor, HHS, Education Appropriations. Once those funds have been allocated, the staff will pull together a revised bill with increased funding levels.
CWA and our national partners hves submitted a letter to congressional appropriators urging them to fund WIOA titles at fully authorized levels for FY2018 and we have a request out to local workforce boards to do the same with their congressional representatives. Letters signed by Workforce Board Chairs are critical and timely – debate on the broader spending package is expected to begin before the March 23rd CR deadline.
Following the budget cap deal, the Trump Administration issued an amendment to their FY2018 budget request. Previously, the request included significant cuts to WIOA Title I (40%) and other priorities like Adult Education, and CTE State Grants. The amendment restored funding for these programs to current FY2017 levels. This is a signal that the administration views these programs as a worthy investment given the increased budget authority.
Fiscal Year 2019 Trump Administration Budget – The Trump Administration released its FY2019 Budget proposal in mid-February and it again included drastic cuts to WIOA, Adult Education, CTE and other programs. However, that same day, the Administration released another amendment given the budget deal for FY2019 and restored funding again to current FY2017 levels.
The Trump Administration budget is mostly a political document and it was generally a mixed bag. The initial signal of disinvestment in WIOA was expected but the addendum restoring funding was unknown given the budget deal.
One key piece of the FY2019 budget is that it explicitly said that the Secretaries of Labor and Education continue to work on a consolidation plan for workforce development programs across the federal government. That could be released in early-to-mid March 2018 and we will be watching that closely.
Fiscal Year 2019 Appropriations – Appropriators will be working intensely on the remaining FY2018 appropriations bills until the March 23rd deadline but will immediately turn to FY2019 once that is completed. The deadline for the committee to receive congressional member requests for Labor, HHS accounts is March 19, 2018. Many offices will set internal deadlines about 7-10 days before that so we will begin outreach as we complete those requests.
This budget deal gives appropriators their top-line funding numbers for FY2019 so it should be an ‘easier’ cycle but there are many factors outstanding including the 2018 midterms. That could certainly complicate this process moving forward.
White House Meeting – During the National Skills Summit in DC, CWA met with White House staff who is directing the workforce policy/spending portfolio for the Administration. She was asking pointed questions around federal funding and policy/regulatory changes needed to ensure more money was going in to training.