This week, Congress approved legislation to fund the government for the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2014. The House overwhelmingly approved the FY 2014 omnibus bill on Wednesday, by a margin of 359-67. The Senate voted to approve it 72-26the following day. This legislation increases funding for several workforce programs above FY 2013 post-sequestration levels; however, it does not fully restore the cuts made under sequestration.
The $1.012 trillion spending bill that emerged on Monday evening is a product of month-long negotiations between House and Senate appropriators that was kicked off after Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (BBA) in late December. The BBA set overall federal spending levels for FY 2014 and 2015. The 2014 omnibus is the first large-scale funding bill to be approved since the FY 2012 omnibus bill was approved in late 2011.
While the omnibus bill does fund the majority of workforce development programs above FY 2013 post-sequestration levels, it does not fully restore the cuts made by sequestration. In some cases, education and training programs were even funded at or below post-sequestration levels. Most notably, adult education state grants were funded at FY 2013 post-sequestration levels, and Wagner/Peyser state grants were funded slightly below post-sequestration levels. NSC has prepared a chart detailing funding for key education and training programs under the omnibus. In particular:
- WIA formula programs are funded at $2.588 billion ($35 billion above post-sequestration levels; $10 billion below FY 2013 enacted)
- Wagner/Peyser state grants are funded at $ 664.184 million ($1 million below post-sequestration levels; $35 million below FY 2013 enacted)
- Pilots and Demos funding was zeroed out in the omnibus
- Career and Technical Education state grants are funded at $1.118 billion ($71 million above post-sequestration levels; $3 million below FY 2013 enacted)
- Adult Basic and Literacy Education state grants are funded at $563.955 million (funded at post-sequestration levels; $30 million below FY 2013 enacted)
The Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce (CIAW), convened by the National Skills Coalition, recently weighed in with Congress on the omnibus. While we are aware that the Appropriations committees were constrained by overall funding levels set for the omnibus, and we appreciate efforts to restore funding for most workforce development programs above post-sequester levels, we nonetheless expressed our concern that funding is still below pre-sequester levels.