Legislative Activity

Appropriators Consider Workforce Training Programs This Week

The House Committee on Appropriations this week will hold a hearing on federal support for job training programs, a target facing steep cuts under President Trump’s proposed budget. In his “skinny” budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, President Trump proposes cutting the Department of Labor (DOL) budget by 21 percent, with significant reductions to job training and employment grants, Job Corps programs, and job training for seniors. Last week, he proposed more cuts to job training programs for the remainder of FY 2017, including cuts to programs established by the very bipartisan Workforce and Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA).

It is expected the hearing in the House this week will highlight effective programs and reforms that can be made to ensure DOL operates programs to develop a robust workforce with skills necessary to compete in the 21st Century and eliminate wasteful spending on ineffective programs, a promise Alexander Acosta made during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP).

This Week’s Hearings:

  • On Tuesday, April 4, the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education will hold a hearing titled, “Examining Federal Support for Job Training Programs.”
  • On Wednesday, April 5, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce will hold a hearing on H.R. 1180, “Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017.”

Regulatory Activity

President Trump Proposes More Department of Education Cuts in FY 2017 Request

After proposing over $9 billion in cuts to the Department of Education in his “skinny” budget request for FY 2018, President Trump this week asked Congress to cut nearly $3 billion more in the five remaining months of FY 2017. The proposal includes the following cuts:

  • $1.3 billion from the Pell Grant program surplus;
  • $28 million in programs to support Advanced Placement classes for students from low-income families;
  • $49 million for Elementary and Secondary School Counseling;
  • $152 million for Mathematics and Science Partnerships;
  • $47 million for physical education programs;
  • $189 million for the Striving Readers Program
  • $1.2 billion to the Supporting Effective Instruction state grants

President Trump’s plan also calls for reductions this year to other agencies that affect education, including National Institutes of Health (3.8 percent cut); National Science Foundation (5 percent cut); NASA (nearly 1 percent cut); National Endowment for the Arts (10 percent cut); National Endowment for the Humanities (10 percent cut); and educational and cultural exchange programs at the State Department (23.7 percent cut).

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), chairman of the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee, indicated this week Republican leaders intend to keep the same spending levels that they have been working on for the last year and ruled out the attempts to make large cuts to the non-defense budget. Additionally, Secretary DeVos indicated she is interested in restoring year-round access to Pell grants and that the current restrictions prevent students from graduating on time. Given President Trump’s proposed cuts to the Pell surplus, which is a possible funding source for year-round Pell Grants, it is unclear if the program will be restored this year, despite bipartisan support in Congress and advocates at the Department of Education.