An Economy Built to Last and Security for Military Families
We now face a make-or-break moment for the middle class and those trying to reach it. After decades of eroding middle-class security as those at the very top saw their incomes rise as never before and after a historic recession that plunged our economy into a crisis from which we are still fighting to recover, it is time to construct an economy that is built to last. The President’s 2013 Budget is built around the idea that our country does best when everyone gets a fair shot, does their fair share, and plays by the same rules. We must transform our economy from one focused on speculating, spending, and borrowing to one constructed on the solid foundation of educating, innovating, and building. That begins with putting the Nation on a path to living within our means – by cutting wasteful spending, asking all Americans to shoulder their fair share, and making tough choices on some things we cannot afford, while keeping the investments we need to grow the economy and create jobs. The Budget targets scarce federal resources to the areas critical to growing the economy and restoring middle-class security: education and skills for American workers, innovation and manufacturing, clean energy, and infrastructure. The Budget is a blueprint for how we can rebuild an economy where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded.
To honor their sacrifice and support military families, the 2013 Budget will:
Sustain Funding for Family Support Programs. The readiness of our troops relies on the strength and stability of the families that support them. The President’s Budget supports servicemembers and their families as they answer our Nation’s call to service. Despite the many tradeoffs required in a constrained budget environment, the President’s Budget provides a steady funding level of $8.5 billion in Department of Defense base funding to support military families in all areas of their lives, from childcare and education for military children to counseling and employment programs for the whole family. Key Administration priorities include enhancing the well-being and psychological health of military families, ensuring excellence in military children’s education, developing career and educational opportunities for military spouses, and ensuring child care availability and quality for the Armed Forces.
Support the Education of Children from Military Families. The President’s Budget provides over $1 billion through the Department of Education’s Impact Aid program to local school districts where a military base may increase the number of students and decrease the property tax base that funds the local schools. Districts educating over 368,000 children from military families receive these much needed resources to provide a high-quality education to these students.
Back the Nation’s Troops. The high quality and readiness of our All-Volunteer force is the Nation’s most important military advantage, so it is critical that military members and their families receive the compensation and benefits that they deserve. We recognize that pay and benefits, including health care, now account for more than 30 percent of defense spending and reducing growth in benefits is critical in order to ensure sufficient resources across all defense requirements. However, even in a constrained budget environment, , the Budget includes funding for a 1.7 percent pay raise for military servicemembers – the full amount authorized by law – as well as a variety of monthly special skill-based payments, enlistment and reenlistment bonuses, and other benefits.
Care for Wounded, Ill, and Injured Servicemembers. The Budget sustains ongoing efforts to provide high-quality medical care to over 9.6 million servicemembers, retirees, and their families, including about $2.4 billion for programs serving wounded, ill, and injured servicemembers. Within this funding, the Budget directs $747 million to address Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and psychological health needs, such as support for Recovery Care Coordinators and enhanced access to care. Another $465 million supports medical research specifically focused on psychological health and TBI /Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Increase Employment, Entrepreneurship, and Job Training for Veterans and Military Spouses. The 2013 Budget provides $259 million for the Department of Labor’s Veterans Employment and Training Service. The request includes an increase of $8 million for the Department’s Transition Assistance Program and grants for employment services to veterans. The Budget ends the Veterans Workforce Investment Program, instead supporting service delivery innovations through the Workforce Innovation Fund. The expanded Transition Assistance Program includes improvements which make employment workshops more accessible to retiring Reserve and National Guard members, as well as spouses of separating servicemembers. In addition, the request continues the grants under the Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program at a level of $38 million. The Budget also expands entrepreneurship training for Veterans and military families through a new $7 million Small Business Administration program, the National Veterans Entrepreneurship Training (VET) Program, which will train up to 260,000 veterans annually.
Help Military Families Make Smart Financial Choices. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 established an Office of Servicemember Affairs within the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The Office, headed by Holly Petraeus, is working hard to prevent servicemembers and their families from falling victim to unfair or deceptive financial practices. The Office is also advocating on behalf of military families; taking consumer complaints from servicemembers; and, working with the Department of Defense to provide military personnel and their families access to quality financial education services.
Expand Benefits for Veterans’ Caregivers. The President's Budget provides $278 million for the implementation of the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act. The new caregiver benefits and services include training adapted to the veterans' individual care needs, a direct stipend payment, and health care and mental health services. These benefits are enhancing the standard of care provided to veterans who need ongoing care through the retention of better trained and more qualified caregivers.
Combat Veteran Homelessness. The President's Budget invests almost $1.4 billion to provide services through the Department of Veterans Affairs for homeless and at-risk veterans. These funds will combat veteran homelessness through collaborative partnerships with local governments, non-profit organizations, and the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Justice, and Labor.