Below is the latest America Forward “Tip Sheet,” a weekly update on Federal activity related to education, workforce development, and other priorities of the America Forward Coalition.
Last Week in Washington
Last week in Washington, President Biden continued negotiations on an infrastructure bill with Republicans, meeting on Wednesday with Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) in the White House to discuss a possible compromise proposal of around $1 trillion. The President floated the prospect of keeping the corporate tax rate at 21% (rather than increasing it to 28%), and paying for the package with an alternative 15% minimum tax for corporations, and increased enforcement instead. President Biden and Senator Capito were reportedly planning to talk by phone again on Friday.
Prospects for a bipartisan deal seemed somewhat lower based on recent reporting last week, with Politico Playbook reporting, “the GOP is bearish on this alternative,” progressives in Congress losing patience as the negotiations continue, and a number of Democrats across the political spectrum expressing skepticism that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell would support a final deal. Democrats will likely still try to move key child care, higher education, and workforce development provisions from the President’s American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan separately, via a reconciliation package later this year.
From National Public Radio on Friday: “Capito and Biden are working against a tight timeframe. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has promised that the Senate will take up an infrastructure bill in July. That means a deal must be in hand in the next few weeks if lawmakers hope to draft legislation and move through the many procedural hurdles necessary before a vote is possible in the Senate.”
From the New York Times last Thursday: “The president has now cut more than $1 trillion from his initial $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal, while Republicans have added less than $100 billion in new spending to their first offer, which contained about $200 billion in new spending by many estimates.”
Per the Washington Post last Thursday: “Some moderates, including Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-WV), also do not yet appear willing to abandon talks. Without their full support, Democrats would have no ability to advance infrastructure reform on their own in the Senate using a tactic known as reconciliation, which would require all 50 Democrats to vote in lockstep.”
Finally, at the end of May, President Biden’s Administration released his Fiscal Year 2022 (FY’22) budget request, which provides more complete details of the President’s budget funding and programmatic priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. In case you missed it, our recent blog post highlights the President’s key investment priorities and examines how they align with the priorities of the America Forward Coalition as outlined in our FY’22 Appropriations letter.
Last Week at America Forward
Key Investments in President Biden’s FY2022 Budget Request
At the end of May, President Joe Biden released his full FY2022 budget request. The full request comes approximately 6 weeks after the President released his discretionary (or “skinny”) budget request on April 9. At the time, America Forward wrote that the President’s proposal, which directed billions in new funding to non-defense discretionary priorities, represented a “potentially transformative investment in our education and workforce systems.”
As President Biden has said: “Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.” The President’s full budget request builds on the progress signaled in his earlier request and devotes critical new resources to a range of education and workforce priorities, reflecting a commitment to supporting an equitable recovery and addressing long-standing racial and socioeconomic inequities worsened by the pandemic. The request includes:
- $20 billion for a new Title I Equity Grants program, as part of President Biden’s commitment to dramatically increase funding for Title I schools;
- $16 billion, a $2.7 billion increase over 2021 enacted, for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) grants that would support special education and related services for more than 7.6 million Pre-K through 12 students;
- $1 billion for a new School-Based Health Professionals grant program to support the goal of doubling the number of counselors, nurses, and mental health professionals in schools;
- $443 million for Full-Service Community Schools, which play a critical role in providing comprehensive wrap-around services to students and their families, from afterschool to adult education opportunities, and health and nutrition services;
- $1.31 billion for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers;
- $100 million for a new program to Foster Diverse Schools;
- Funding to increase the maximum Pell Grant by $400—the largest one-time increase since 2009—and to ensure “DREAMers,” students who are Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients, are eligible for Pell Grants;
- Providing Americans two years of free community college by partnering with states and tribes to waive tuition and fees for students, while promoting key reforms to help more students complete and help meet the demands of a growing global economy;
- $3.7 billion, a $203 million increase over the FY 2021 enacted level, for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act State Grants;
- $285 million to expand Registered Apprenticeship (RA) opportunities while increasing access for historically underrepresented groups;
- $145,000,000, an increase of $48,466,000, for YouthBuild which will fund
- 3,070 additional participants in the program in 2022; and,
- $1.21 billion for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), an increase of $89.2 million over FY21, to fund 62,000 total AmeriCorps slots in FY22.
Read more about President Biden’s FY2022 Budget Request in our recent blog post.
From the America Forward Coalition
Opinion: Finding hope in the hard unfinished work of building and revitalizing our democracy
New Politics’ Emily Cherniack and Representative Jason Crow (D-CO) offer thoughts on how to harness leadership and service in order to fully realize the potential of our democracy, in this piece from The Hill: “As we gather with friends and family this Memorial Day, we urge every American to think of the sacrifice on which this country was built. Let us always remember that we’re united — not by class, creed, or ideology, but by our shared values, our shared history, and our love of a country that is not perfect, but is striving to be. Let us find hope in the hard and inexorably unfinished work of building and revitalizing a democracy that may one day be worthy of every life given in its name.” Read their full piece here.
Opinion: Four Ways to Age-Integrate National Service
Encore.org’s Marc Freedman and Phyllis Segal write about the importance of co-generational national service programs that bring together older and younger people, break down age segregation, and provide much needed support as we rebuild from the pandemic and beyond, in this piece from the Stanford Social Innovation Review: “The time is ripe to make co-generational service more deliberate and more widespread. As the introductory essay in this series notes, there are five generations alive at once, and a growing pool of available and experienced human capital. Studies show the distinct benefits that derive from older and younger people working collaboratively, including access to complementary skills, the potential for increased productivity, and the opportunity to bridge generational differences. What’s more, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 includes an investment of $1 billion in additional resources for enhancing national service over the next three years.” Read their full piece here.
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