The President’s Budget and Human Needs
On Monday, February 13, President Obama released his budget for Fiscal Year 2013. While the document offers $4.3 trillion in long-term deficit reduction, we are pleased to see that the bulk of savings proposed would not come at the expense of our most vulnerable citizens. Although there a few noteworthy cuts that would adversely impact some of our nation’s most needy, the proposal offers key investments in human development. Overall, the budget demonstrates a commitment to programs that impact children and youth, seniors, low-income families, and Americans with disabilities. It would maintain level funding for a number of key resources and even proposes modest increases for programs and services that are critical for communities across the country.
Highlights of the proposal include the following:
- $3 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps low-income families meeting rising heating and cooling costs. This is an increase of $450 million from last year’s request, which was not fully met by Congress.
- A $12.5 billion Pathways Back to Work Fund, which would include supports to help connect low-income youth with summer and year-round jobs.
- Expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, which would extend the program permanently and increase the credit for larger families. This would provide $14 billion in benefits over the next decade.
- $196 million for the Successful, Safe and Healthy Students program. This new program is designed to address a range of school climate and safety issues through program consolidation; its funding stream is derived from existing programs such as elementary and secondary school counseling, physical education, and the alcohol abuse reduction program.
- Over $7 billion in food assistance, including a restoration of SNAP (food stamps) benefits cuts.
- $100 million for Promise Neighborhoods, an increase of $40 million that would support further rounds of planning and implementation grants in the coming year.
- Preserving the structure of Medicaid and Medicare to ensure coverage for eligible seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income families in need.
The President’s full budget document is available online at whitehouse.gov/omb/budget. As we have traditionally focused on youth issues in the budget, we have also produced an overview of how the proposed FY 2013 budget would impact youth, which is available here. Beyond this high level review, analyses and resources have also been made available by many our colleagues, including the Coalition on Human Needs and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
The Assembly applauds the administration for taking a responsible approach to domestic priorities that will promote increased access to opportunity for millions of Americans.
This analysis was originally published by the National Human Services Assembly. It is reprinted here with permission.