Enforcement Agencies See Similar Cuts
The fiscal year 2018 budget proposal shows new priorities for the Trump Administration, with the Federal Education and Training Programs taking the brunt of the proposed budget cuts. The Department of Labor’s budget (DOL) includes a 20 percent reduction in funding from the FY 2017 enacted level, and large job training reductions and employment service accounts represent some of the largest cuts. Funding for state grants for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) have received a 40 percent cut, and funding for apprenticeship grants have received a 5 percent reduction. WIOA overwhelmingly passed Congress in 2014, so it is unlikely that Congress will allow the proposed cuts.
The FY 2018 budget proposal also contains reductions within the Department of Education for accounts that fund career and technical education. The budget proposes a 15 percent reduction in funding despite the fact that Congress is working towards reforming and reauthorizing career and technical education.
Among the federal agencies within the DOL, funding levels are little changed. The Wage and Hour Division received a small increase for compliance assistance and outreach to employers, while the Office of Labor-Management Standards received one of the largest percentage increases—primarily to fund a program that audits larger international unions. Meanwhile, funding for the National Labor Relations Board has been decreased. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s funding has stayed relatively level, but the budget does call for the elimination of Susan Harwood Training Grants, a grant program that AGC has benefitted from and that has provided valuable safety training to thousands of industry workers.
The budget also proposes dramatic changes to the premium structure paid to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. Ultimately, these large increases would have to be absorbed by contributing employers and would require congressional approval first. AGC will strongly oppose any such unilateral increases.
Interestingly, the budget proposal calls for the merging of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and the independent Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. AGC is concerned by this merging of agencies, and it remains unlikely that Congress will approve of such a change.
Finally, among one of the more public proposals in the budget is a proposal to create a federal-state parental leave benefit program within the unemployment insurance program. Beginning in 2020, this program would provide six weeks of family leave to new parents. The proposal expands upon President Trump’s campaign promises, but like many others, the details of how such a program might work in practice have yet to be determined.
For more information, contact James Young at email@example.com or (202) 547-0133.