Federal service is public service. That’s easy to forget sometimes because so much of what Federal employees do goes on behind the scenes. But America’s workforce affects every American every day. Each day, all across this country, many Americans are fortunate to wake up in a society where they have clean water to drink, safe food to eat, beautiful parks, affordable and quality health care, and a growing economy.
The Republican budget resolution conference agreement announced yesterday serves as a reminder of what Republicans in the House and Senate can agree on: underfunding investments that benefit middle-class families and contribute to economic growth; stripping away health insurance coverage from millions; making it harder for students to afford college; and funding national defense through a cynical, temporary budget gimmick – while shortchanging it altogether in later years.
Today, House Republicans marked-up their first two funding bills for fiscal year (FY) 2016 in full committee. They also released planned funding levels, known as 302(b) allocations, for the 10 remaining appropriations bills that fund the rest of the government. In doing so, House Republicans have started to show how they plan to budget at discretionary funding levels that are the lowest in a decade, adjusted for inflation. The bills released so far, along with the targets for the remaining bills, show that the Republican budget funding levels will force cuts compared to the President’s Budget in areas important to the economy and the middle-class, ranging from research to education to environmental protection, as well as in national security priorities, ranging from peacekeeping and foreign assistance to the base defense budget.
Last week the Departments of Labor and Education published the draft regulations implementing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). These proposed regulations, and the underlying WIOA legislation, will improve our Nation’s public workforce system by strengthening coordination and accountability. One of their most exciting features is that they would require States to produce standardized, easily-understandable “scorecards.” What that means is that – for the first time – workers choosing among different training programs that receive WIOA funding will be able to easily compare them on criteria that matter, like how much the program costs, the percent of participants who actually complete the program, and the average earnings of participants.
Last night, the Senate passed H.R.2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, with overwhelming bipartisan support, following House passage of the bill with overwhelming support three weeks ago. Not only will the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 reform Medicare’s physician payment system to incentivize quality and value and extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program, it also includes a two-year extension of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (“Home Visiting”). The Home Visiting program, administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, funds States, territories, and tribal entities to develop and implement voluntary, evidence-based home visitation programs in which families that choose to participate receive advice, guidance, and other help from nurses, social workers, or other trained professionals during pregnancy and the first years of a child’s life.
Explore where your tax dollars would go and to see what percentage of the Federal budget is dedicated to different program areas.