Strengthening the Economy for Women and Girls
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 women and girls, the 2014 Budget will:
Strengthen Efforts to Combat Violence Against Women. Despite progress made in recent years, too many women – particularly young women – are beaten, raped, and stalked every year. The Budget plays a critical role in helping to create a coordinated community response to this problem. The Budget includes $412.5 million in Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women grants and assistance to support victims of violence, including domestic abuse and sexual assault victims. The Budget also proposes an increase of $95 million in the Crime Victim Fund for a range of services including domestic trafficking, tribal victim services, and increased funds to States to better serve crime victims including violence against women. The Budget works to improve the apprehension and prosecution of sex offenders by providing $20 million to address the nation’s backlog of rape kits.
Encourage State Establishment of Family Leave Initiatives. Too many American workers must make the painful choice between the care of their families and a paycheck they desperately need. 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. A handful of States have enacted policies to offer paid family leave, but more States should have the chance to follow their example. The Budget supports a $5 million State Paid Leave Fund to provide technical assistance and support to States that are considering paid leave programs.
Strengthen Enforcement of Wage and Hour and Family Leave Laws. 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.
Promote Equal Pay For Equal Work. According to the latest Census statistics, full-time working women earn 77 cents to every dollar earned by men, and the gap is significantly more for women of color. The Budget makes important investments to help ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work. It provides 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, agencies that work to secure equal employment opportunities for all workers.
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.
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.
Expand Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. Child care costs can be a major burden for working families and a barrier to employment for some individuals. To help defray these costs, the Budget increases the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit available to working families with incomes between $15,000 and $100,000.
Prepare Students for STEM Careers in the 21st Century Economy. 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 individuals from groups historically underrepresented in these fields, including women and girls.
Support Nutritional Needs of Expectant and New Mothers. 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.
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. 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 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.
Improve Health Care Services for Women Veterans. To ensure that the women who served our country receive the care they need throughout their lives, the Budget includes a $422 million investment, a 29 percent increase from the 2012 enacted amount, for gender-specific health care within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for eligible women veterans to address their health care needs. In total, the Budget includes nearly $4.9 billion to provide VA medical care services to eligible women veterans, a 19 percent increase from the 2012 enacted level.
Support Evidence-Based Teen Pregnancy Prevention. Because the President believes that more progress must be made on reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies, the Budget provides $260 million for teen pregnancy prevention and related efforts. A $105 million initiative targets funds for grants to community-based and faith-based organizations that implement the evidence-based models that have been proven to work in reducing teen pregnancy -- models that provide medically accurate, age-appropriate, and complete information on contraception and sexual health. The model will also fund and rigorously evaluate programs that are promising but not yet proven. The Budget also proposes a new program to help reduce pregnancy among youth in foster care, funded by Abstinence Education funds that are not used by States.
Support Expanded Resources for Family Planning Programs and Preventative Health Services. The President believes that we still need to make progress on reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies and ensure that low-income women have access to primary and preventative health services. Therefore the President’s Budget includes $327 million, an increase of $34 million above the 2012 enacted level, to improve access to family planning centers and health services for low-income individuals. This funding will allow clinics to provide access to reproductive and preventive services and other family planning activities at more than 4,000 clinics nationwide.
Support Women-Owned Businesses. According to Census data, there are nearly 7.8 million women-owned firms, and women’s business ownership grew by 20 percent between 2002 and 2007, which is the latest available official data.
Enhance Small Business Access to Credit. The Administration is working to improve access to capital for small businesses, which are the engine of economic growth and job creation. The Budget provides $17.5 billion in loan guarantees through SBA’s flagship Section 7(a) program and $7.5 billion in its Section 504 program (including $6.3 billion supported by requested loan subsidy and $1.2 billion from expected carryover), which provides long-term financing for fixed assets. In addition, the Budget provides $25 million in microloans of under $50,000 for new and growing businesses. The Budget also proposes to increase the authorization of SBA’s Small Business Investment Company program from $3 billion to $4 billion per year, which can be done at no cost to the taxpayer and will ensure that this program can continue to expand access to capital for growing small businesses, with a focus on underrepresented regions and key emerging industries.
Support Growth and Lending in Underserved Communities. The Budget provides $225 million for the Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. The Budget also funds several initiatives designed to promote entrepreneurship in underserved areas including the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Small Loan Advantage and Community Advantage programs. In addition, SBA will continue to broaden access to venture capital financing in 2014 by leveraging the SBIC Impact Fund to support $200 million in equity-based impact investments in regions not well served by private financial markets, including impact investments that target residents of economically distressed regions or businesses owned by women entrepreneurs.
Increase Access to Intensive Entrepreneurship Education for Growing Small Businesses. Millions of small business owners, including women entrepreneurs, with the desire to grow their business have no formal training in areas like accounting and finance and do not have mentors or networks to create strong growth plans to expand their businesses, get access to capital and revenue opportunities, and ultimately create new jobs. Many reside in underserved areas, where these issues are further magnified, even though research suggests that individuals in underserved communities are 50% more likely to become business owners. The Budget includes $40 million for an intensive small business leadership program to help existing small business owners with the desire to grow take their business to the next level. This program will include immersion in core business concepts such as accounting and financing, peer-to-peer review among fellow business owners, tailored mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs, introductions to capital access and revenue opportunities, and culminate in the creation of a targeted growth plan for each business owner with actionable steps to put their learning into practice. The program will be modeled as a public-private partnership that is built in collaboration with existing partner networks and other working public, private sector and non-profit models. The President’s Budget will also call for $7 million to invest in intensive entrepreneurship education for veterans and returning service-members. In addition, the President’s Budget will call for over $120 million for SBA’s Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, and SCORE.