President Obama's FY2011 Budget Proposals Invests in Low-Income Families

February 08, 2010

On Feb. 1, 2010, President Obama proposed an FY2011 budget, which recognizes that long-term solutions are necessary to address rising economic insecurity and the jobs crisis. The budget proposal includes a dramatic increase in funding for child care and early education programs, a substantial increase in funding to help more students access postsecondary education, an increase in funding for workforce development programs for disadvantaged youth, and more funds for several American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provisions that reach those most affected by the recession, including the TANF Emergency Fund. For some key programs that are essential for low-income families, however, the budget proposal was more modest or level.

President Obama's budget proposal would:

Expand quality child care and early education opportunities
The president's budget includes a $1.6 billion permanent increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant to provide assistance for 235,000 children. If Congress acts on this request, it would be the single largest increase in CCDBG funding in more than 20 years. The budget also includes: a $989 million increase for Head Start, including Early Head Start; a $3 billion increase for programs authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA); and nearly $9 billion over ten years for the proposed Early Learning Challenge Fund. Read more.

Invest in the most vulnerable children and families
The budget level funds most child welfare-focused programs with the exception of a proposed increase of  $10 million to create a new competitive state grant program for evidence-based prevention practices. Although investments in child welfare-focused programs are basically flat, the budget includes exciting proposals in other areas that will help children and families struggling with complex issues that often lead to maltreatment.  In particular the proposed  $210 investment in Promise Neighborhoods and the proposed $500 million Fatherhood, Marriage and Family Innovation Fund will provide communities and states that are ready to be creative the funds to offer comprehensive, holistic approaches to children, families and communities facing multifaceted challenges. Read more.

Provide opportunity for disconnected youth
The president's budget proposes an 11 percent increase for Workforce Investment Act youth activities.  This is the first increase years.  The budget creates a $154 million Youth Innovation Fund, which would create innovative pilot programs for delivering summer and year-round work experiences and comprehensive services to disconnected youth. The budget also increases YouthBuild funding by $17.5 million to expand green construction projects that produce industry-recognized credentials.  Read more.

Invest in postsecondary education aid
While the President's FY 2011 budget calls for an overall freeze on discretionary non-defense spending, the budget would substantially increase support for students in postsecondary education.Most notably, the budget proposes to raise the maximum Pell grant from $5,550 in 2010 to $5,710 in 2011 and move it to the mandatory side of the budget. Read more.

Focus on workforce innovation
The President's FY 2011 budget provides level funding for adult and dislocated worker employment and training under the Workforce Investment Act and adds $108 million in new funding to help create a proposed Workforce Innovation Fund. The budget provides $612 million for state grants for adult education, an increase of $30 million compared to 2009, but a $15.9 million decrease from 2010. The budget also calls for reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act. Read more.

Include funding to demonstrate the effectiveness of transitional jobs strategies
The President's FY 2011 budget requests $40 million for a second round of competitive grants to demonstrate and evaluate the effectiveness of Transitional Jobs strategies. The budget also calls for an additional $2.5 billion for the TANF Emergency Fund, which can be used for subsidized employment.  Read more.

Extend the TANF Emergency Fund for one year
The president's budget calls for an additional $2.5 billion for the TANF Emergency Fund in FY 2011. The administration's proposal would expand allowable uses of the Emergency Fund to include employment-related services. The overall TANF block grant is scheduled to expire on September 30, 2010.  The Administration's budget calls for a one-year extension, rather than a five-year reauthorization. Read more.

Raise asset limits for key safety net programs
The president's budget calls for two important changes to asset test requirements across federal programs. It sets an asset limit floor of $10,000 for low-income, working age, non-disabled adults and their families for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps) and possibly TANF.  Further, for all federally funded means tested programs, refundable tax credits would not be counted as either income or assets for 12 months. Read more.

Invest in paid leave insurance programs
The president's budget establishes $50 million for the State Paid Leave Fund, which is intended to provide competitive grants to assist in the start up of new paid family leave insurance programs in the states. Read more.



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