Strengthening the Economy for Latino Families
The President’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget demonstrates that we can make critical investments to strengthen the middle class, create jobs, and grow the economy while continuing to cut the deficit in a balanced way.
The President believes we must invest in the true engine of America’s economic growth – a rising and thriving middle class. He is focused on addressing three fundamental questions: How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills needed to do the jobs of the 21st Century? How do we make sure hard work leads to a decent living? The Budget presents the President’s plan to address each of these questions.
To make America once again a magnet for jobs, the Budget invests in high-tech manufacturing and innovation, clean energy, and infrastructure, while cutting red tape to help businesses grow. To give workers the skills they need to compete in the global economy, it invests in education from pre-school to job training. To ensure hard work is rewarded, it raises the minimum wage to $9 an hour so a hard day’s work pays more.
The Budget does all of these things as part of a comprehensive plan that reduces the deficit and puts the Nation on a sound fiscal course. Every new initiative in the plan is fully paid for, so they do not add a single dime to the deficit. The Budget also incorporates the President’s compromise offer to House Speaker Boehner to achieve another $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction in a balanced way. When combined with the deficit reduction already achieved, this will allow us to exceed the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction, while growing the economy and strengthening the middle class. By including this compromise proposal in the Budget, the President is demonstrating his willingness to make tough choices and his seriousness about finding common ground to further reduce the deficit.
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To strengthen the economy for Latino families, the 2014 Budget will:
Increase Access to High-Quality Early Childhood Education. To build a foundation for success in the formative early years of life, the Budget outlines a proposal to increase access to high-quality early childhood education with the Preschool for All initiative. This initiative is financed by raising the Federal tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products, which would also have substantial public health impacts, particularly by reducing youth smoking. In addition, the Budget makes three complementary investments, including Preschool Development Grants, to help States build the infrastructure so they can participate in Preschool for All; an Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership fund to increase access to high-quality early learning environments; and an extension and expansion of the evidence-based voluntary home visiting program to provide our most vulnerable parents and children with the education and services to ensure our youngest children develop into healthy learners in safe homes.
Provide High-Quality Preschool for All. In partnership with the States, the Budget provides all low- and moderate-income four-year-olds with high-quality preschool, while encouraging States to serve additional four-year-olds from middle-income families. The initiative also promotes access to full-day kindergarten and high-quality early education programs for children under age four. To support this initiative, the Budget also proposes a $750 million investment in Preschool Development Grants to ensure that States willing to commit to expanding preschool access are able to make the critical investments necessary to serve their four-year-olds in high-quality programs.
Invest in High-Quality Infant and Toddler Care. The Budget provides $1.6 billion for companion investments in high-quality early learning for infants and toddlers through new Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships.
Invest in Effective Parent and Family Strategies. The Budget also provides $15 billion to extend and expand evidence-based voluntary home visiting programs that allow nurses, social workers, and other professionals to connect families to tools that positively impact the child’s health, development, and ability to learn.
Sustain Investment While Ramping up Innovations in Grades K-12. The Department of Education has fueled historic reforms in our education system by rewarding excellence and promoting innovation to help children succeed. Continuing to build on these reforms, the 2014 Budget provides $659 million in School Turnaround Grants to turn around America’s persistently lowest-performing schools; includes $215 million to support effective educational models through the Investing in Innovation (i3) fund; increases the supply of high-quality public educational options through a $295 million investment in the Expanding Educational Options program; and provides $1.3 billion for 21st Century Community Learning Centers to provide high-need students with additional time, support, and enrichment activities. The Budget is also committed to maintaining support for disadvantaged students by providing $14.5 billion for ESEA Title I Grants to States to pay teacher salaries and fund critical education interventions.
Support Migrant Student Education. In particular, the Budget supports Latino families by providing $393 million for the Migrant Student Education program, which is designed to help migrant and refugee children overcome the unique challenges they face due to frequent moves among the States with disparities in curriculum, graduation requirements, or State academic content and student academic achievement standards.
Redesign High School. The Budget creates a new, competitive $300 million fund to redesign high schools to focus on providing challenging and relevant experiences, while promoting and developing partnerships with colleges and employers that improve instruction and prepare students to continue education or transition into skilled jobs. In addition, the budget proposes to strengthen and reform career and technical education to better align programs with the needs of employers and higher education to ensure graduates are poised to succeed.
Improve College Affordability and Value. The Budget proposes to improve college affordability and value with a continued commitment to Pell Grants; budget-neutral student loan reform that will make interest rates more market-based; a $1 billion Race to the Top fund to support competitive grants to States that drive higher education reform, while doing more to contain tuition; a $260 million First in the World fund to spur cutting-edge innovations that decrease college costs and boost graduation rates; and reforms to Federal campus-based aid to reward colleges that set responsible tuition policy, provide a high quality education, and better serve students with financial need.
Improve Higher Education for Students from Minority Backgrounds. In addition, the Budget will support improving and expanding teacher education programs at minority-serving institutions, a significant pipeline for preparing a diverse teaching force. The Budget sustains funding for GEAR UP and TRIO to help provide support services for students from disadvantaged backgrounds to prepare for, enroll, and complete postsecondary education. Using available funds in 2014 for GEAR UP, the Department will run a competition that funds projects that aim to ensure students enroll at colleges that meet their fullest potential. Additionally, the Budget continues approximately $800 million in funding for programs that strengthen and support minority serving institutions. The Budget maintains funding for programs administered by the Department of Education that fund HSIs.
Prepare Students for STEM Careers in the 21st Century Economy. To prepare students for careers in STEM-related fields the Budget proposes a comprehensive reorganization of Federal STEM education programs to make better use of resources and improve outcomes in four areas: K-12 instruction, undergraduate education, graduate fellowships, and education activities that typically take place outside the classroom. This reorganization will be implemented with a focus on increasing participation and opportunities for individual from groups historically underrepresented in these fields.
Promote New Approaches to Job Training and Employment Services. As the economy changes, training and employment programs must innovate and adapt to help American workers gain the skills they need to find new jobs and careers. The Budget includes several initiatives to ensure these goals are achieved by exploring opportunities to revisit how the Federal Government funds job training programs that serve overlapping populations; driving innovation through the Workforce Innovation Fund by testing new State and regional ideas to better deliver training and employment services and help workers find jobs; and providing $8 billion for a Community College to Career Fund to support State and community college partnerships with businesses and other stakeholders to build the skills of American workers.
Create Pathways to Work for Every American. Investing in our nation’s low-income youth, and connecting those who have experienced long-term unemployment to jobs, is critical to building long-term prosperity and ensuring that our economic recovery reaches all Americans. The Budget creates a $12.5 billion Pathways Back to Work fund to make it easier for workers to remain connected to the workforce and gain new skills for long-term employment. This initiative will support summer and year round jobs for low-income youth, subsidized employment opportunities for unemployed and low income adults, and other promising strategies designed to lead to employment. The Budget also proposes a $4 billion Reemployment NOW program, which helps States fund innovative strategies to connect workers receiving unemployment insurance and other long-term unemployed individuals with job opportunities.
Partner with Communities to Help Them Rebuild. The Promise Zones initiative will revitalize high-poverty communities across the country by attracting private investment, improving affordable housing, expanding educational opportunities, providing tax incentives for hiring workers and investing in the Zones, reducing violence and assisting local leaders in navigating Federal programs and cutting through red tape. To align Federal investments with these hardest-hit communities, the Budget invests $300 million in combining effective cradle-to-career services with comprehensive school reforms through Promise Neighborhoods; $400 million in Choice Neighborhoods to revitalize affordable housing and surrounding neighborhoods; and $35 million in Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Grants to combat serious crime and violence using proven public safety strategies.
Strengthen Families. The Budget support the President’s commitment to promoting healthy marriages for all families and supporting the critical role that fathers play in enhancing the intellectual, emotional, and financial well-being of their sons and daughters. The Budget proposes allowing existing Federal programs, like the child support program, to implement models that get more men working and engaging with their children. It also supports States in testing strategies to overcome financial deterrents to forming safe and stable marriages.
Make Tax Cuts Permanent for Working Families. The Budget permanently extends expansions of the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit that were passed in the Recovery Act and continued as part of the bipartisan Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act and The American Taxpayer Relief Act that the President negotiated and signed into law in January 2013. The expanded refundability of the Child Tax Credit benefits 12 million families with 21 million children–including 3.6 million Hispanic families, with 6.3 million children. The expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit for married couples and families with three or more children provides tax cuts averaging $500 to 6 million families. These improvements lifted 1.6 million Americans– including nearly 700,000 Hispanics – out of poverty in 2010. The Budget also proposes to make permanent the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which currently helps about 11 million students and families afford college.
Provide Greater Security for American Workers. The Budget supports the President’s call to reward hard work by raising the Federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour. Raising the minimum wage would directly boost wages for 15 million workers and would help our growing economy. The Budget also makes important investments to help ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work by providing additional resources to strengthen the pay discrimination enforcement efforts of the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In addition, the Budget provides an increase of $3.4 million for the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) for increased enforcement of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act, which ensure that workers receive appropriate wages, overtime pay, and the right to take job-protected leave for family and medical purposes. While the Family and Medical Leave Act allows many workers to take job-protected unpaid time off, millions of families cannot afford to use unpaid leave. The Budget supports a $5 million State Paid Leave Fund to provide technical assistance and support to States that are considering paid leave programs.
Prevent Hunger. At a time of continued need, the Budget provides $7.1 billion in funding to support the 8.9 million individuals expected to participate in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which is critical to the health of pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and young children. The Administration also continues its support of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the cornerstone of our Nation’s food assistance safety net that touches the lives of more than 47 million people by helping families put food on the table.
Support Healthy Eating. The Budget supports the implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 with $35 million in school equipment grants to aid in the provision of healthy meals and continued support for other school-based resources.
Make Communities Safer by Reducing Gun Violence. We can protect our Second Amendment rights while coming together around reforms like background checks to make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun—common-sense reforms that will help protect our citizens from the scourge of gun violence that has plagued too many communities across the country. On January 16th, 2013, the President announced his gun safety initiative which consisted of several legislative measures now currently under consideration by the Congress and numerous executive actions, most of which are already well underway. The 2014 Budget includes $667 million in additional resources to help implement the President’s gun safety plan which includes closing background check loopholes to keep guns out of dangerous hands and taking other common-sense steps to reduce gun violence; making schools safer; and increasing access to mental health services.
Reform our Immigration System. The President’s plan for common-sense immigration reform would continue investments in border security, crack down on companies that hire undocumented workers, improve the legal immigration system for employment-sponsored and family-sponsored immigrants, and establish a responsible pathway to earned citizenship. The plan would require anyone who is undocumented to pay their taxes and a penalty, move to the back of the line, learn English, and undergo background checks.
A Pathway to Earned Citizenship. The President’s proposal would provide a provisional status to the millions of individuals living here illegally by creating a responsible pathway that could ultimately lead to a green card and citizenship. All applicants would be required to pass national security and criminal background checks, pay taxes, fees and penalties, learn English, and get in the back of the line behind those waiting in the legal immigration system to become eligible for citizenship.
Keep Families Together. The proposal seeks to eliminate existing backlogs in the family-sponsored immigration system by recapturing unused visas and temporarily increasing annual visa numbers. The proposal also raises existing annual country caps from 7 percent to 15 percent for the family-sponsored immigration system. It also treats same-sex families as families by giving U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents the ability to seek a visa on the basis of a permanent relationship with a same-sex partner. The proposal also revises current unlawful presence bars and provides broader discretion to waive bars in cases of hardship.
Promote Affordable Homeownership. The Administration projects that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will insure $178 billion in mortgage borrowing in 2014, supporting new home purchases and re-financed mortgages that significantly reduce borrower payments. FHA financing was used by 27 percent of all homebuyers, 50 percent of African American homebuyers and 49 percent of Hispanic families who purchased homes in 2011. It also is a vital financing source for first-time homeowners, 41 percent of whom used FHA insured financing in 2011.
Support Responsible Homeowners and Help Them Stay in Their Homes. The President has put forward a legislative plan to support responsible homeowners by making millions more eligible for streamlined refinancing, which can save hundreds of dollars a month. In addition, the President has expanded efforts to help families avoid foreclosure by making 12-month forbearance for unemployed borrowers an industry standard and expanding eligibility for the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). The Administration continues to support housing counseling programs for households at risk of foreclosure and low and moderate income households. The Budget provides $55 million for HUD's Housing Counseling program and $204 million for the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, including $77 million for the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling (NFMC) program. NFMC has delivered counseling to over 1.4 million households.
Maintain Affordable High-Quality Primary and Preventive Care. Health centers are a key component of the Nation’s health care system. These sites offer comprehensive, high quality, primary and preventive health care services to all Americans regardless of ability to pay. As insurance coverage is expanded through the Affordable Care Act, Health Centers will continue to be a critical element of the health system. To ensure that health centers continue to provide critical access and services to millions of Americans, the Budget continues to fully support existing health center sites and includes funding to open new health centers in areas in the country where they do not currently exist. There are over 8,000 health center sites across the country that provide services to over 20 million people.
Support Prisoner Re-entry Programs. The Budget provides $40 million in new resources for Department Justice prisoner re-entry programs, including $19 million for residential substance abuse treatment programs in State and local prisons and jails, $15 million for the Bureau of Prisons to expand the Residential Drug Abuse Program and $6 million to expand alternatives to traditional incarceration, including home monitoring programs. Additionally, $119 million is provided for grant assistance under the Second Chance Act. In addition, the Budget provides $90 million for Department of Labor programs that provide employment-centered services to adult and youth ex-offenders and at-risk youth. These programs reduce recidivism by providing counseling, job training, drug treatment, and other transitional assistance to former prisoners as they reintegrate into the job market and community life.
Support Minority Businesses. The Administration continues to support access to credit in underserved and lower-income communities. According to the most recent Census data, Hispanics are opening businesses at a rate three times faster than the national average. To help businesses thrive, the Budget will:
Support Growth and Lending. The Budget provides $225 million for the Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, which provides capital to low-income communities across the Nation and is targeting a portion of its funds to help bring grocery stores and other healthy food retailers to underserved urban and rural communities. The Budget promotes entrepreneurship in underserved areas by providing funding for Small Business Administration entrepreneurial education programs. This includes $40 million for an entrepreneurship training initiative that will target small business owners who are currently poised for growth. The Budget also provides $29 million for the Minority Business Development Agency through the Department of Commerce.
Enhance Small Business Access to Credit. The Budget supports $29 billion in loan guarantees in SBA’s 7(a), 504, and Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) programs, in addition to $25 million in direct microloans.
Cut Taxes for Small Businesses Seeking to Grow and Expand. The President is proposing to build on the 18 small business tax cuts he has already signed into law with new tax cuts to encourage growth and investment.
Spur Job Creation through Infrastructure. The Budget for the Department of Transportation fully supports the $50.1 billion of surface transportation programs included in the MAP-21 reauthorization bill signed by the President on July 6, 2012. Beyond MAP-21, the Budget includes a reserve beginning in 2015 to support robust, long-term investments in surface transportation under the next reauthorization. To immediately spur job growth, the Budget provides an additional $50 billion for transportation investments in 2014. Although infrastructure projects take time to get underway, these investments would create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the first few years—and in industries suffering from protracted unemployment. This includes $40 billion in "fix-it-first" investments to improve existing infrastructure assets most in need of repair and $10 billion to help spur States and local innovation in infrastructure development and leveraging state, local, tribal and private funds. Making infrastructure investments now will put workers back on the job and support local transportation programs in the near-term, but the return on investment for Federal taxpayers will benefit from historically low interest rates and construction costs. To help these funds flow into communities without delay, key Federal agencies have been directed to find ways to expedite permitting and approvals for infrastructure projects. Finally, 2014 is the first year of a five-year, $40 billion rail reauthorization proposal.
Cut energy bills for low-income families. As part of an overall investment in weatherization-related activities, the Budget includes $184 million for the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program, which enables low-income families to permanently reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy efficient. Families receiving weatherization services see their annual energy bills reduced by about $250 to $450 per year in heating, cooling, and electric costs, depending on their housing type, location, and fuel source. The Budget also provides $3 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in the Department of Health and Human Services to help struggling families with residential heating and cooling expenses. This amount includes $50 million for competitive grants to help reduce energy burdens for LIHEAP households that rely on persistently high-cost systems.