October 24, 2021

Washington Wire: President Trump Unveils Federal Budget Proposal for FY 2021


President Trump Unveils Federal Budget Proposal for FY 2021 

On Monday, the White House released President Trump’s $4.8 trillion budget proposal for fiscal year (FY) 2021. While marginally larger than last year’s budget proposal of $4.75 trillion, this year’s proposal similarly calls for increases in defense spending and major cuts to many domestic programs and federal agencies. If the administration’s economic policies are enacted and Congress extends the 2017 tax cuts for 10 more years, the proposal predicts economic growth above 3 percent annually with the federal budget being balanced by 2035.
The President’s Budget Request (PBR) is just that, a request for funding for the programs described in the proposed budget. However, these numbers have no force of law and the dollars are not awarded nor committed to at these levels included in a PBR submitted annually by the Executive Branch. The PBR is a request to Congress, which decides the actual funding levels through a formal process known as appropriations. Despite this, the PBR does provide an indication of which programs the President supports.
Of importance to One Voice members, the president’s proposal calls for major increases in several areas of workforce training. In the area of Career Technical Education (CTE), the White House has proposed an increase of $900 million. Of this $900 million increase, $680 million would go to Perkins Basic State Grants and $83 million for Perkins National Programs. The rest of the increase, over $100 million in funds, could be reached through changes to the H-1B visa program.
In addition, the proposal requests $200 million for the Department of Labor to expand registered apprenticeship and industry-recognized apprenticeship program (IRAP) opportunities in high-growth sectors, including advanced manufacturing. Finally, for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) programs, the proposal requests the same amounts for Adult Employment and Training Activities ($855 million) and WIOA Youth Activities ($913 million) that were provided by Congress last year. While requests for funds for WIOA Dislocated Worker Employment and Training Activities ($1.213 billion) and Reentry Employment Opportunities (REO) Programs ($93 million) are both increases from FY 2020 budget requests, and a request for YouthBuild ($85 million) is at the same level as last year, these requests are actually decreases when compared to the $1.323 billion, $98 million, and $95 million allotted by Congress for FY 2020.
One Voice is working with the administration and members of Congress to build on the funding gains in workforce training made last year and supports the President’s call for expanding career and technical training in high schools across the country as proposed in his State of the Union address.



White House Conducting Final Review of Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs Rule
OOn January 30, the Labor Department sent its final Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAP) rule to the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for review. The Labor Department’s rule installs a procedure for recognizing Standards Recognition Entities (SREs) and defines the responsibilities of an SRE. Under the rule, the Administrator of the Office of Apprenticeship will work with SREs and help them recognize IRAPs. Finally, the rule summarizes how IRAPs will function within the existing registered apprenticeship system and addresses America’s skills gap. Once finalized, the administration will still need to persuade Congress to fund its initiative. Questions regarding funding intensified late last year, when the agency admitted to misappropriating $1.1 million of funds intended for registered apprenticeship programs. One Voice supports the creation of IRAPs, which, when established, will allow manufacturing trade associations to certify apprenticeship in accordance with industry standards. Sources expect OIRA to complete its review of the final rule by April.



 House Passes Pro Union Bill
Last week, the House of Representatives passed the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act (H.R. 2474) mostly along party lines. The bill would abolish Right-to-Work laws, enacted in 27 states, and compel workers to pay union dues regardless of their desires to join a union. It would also eliminate the right to a secret ballot in union elections and institute a “card check” system which would force workers to vote in front of union organizers. Finally, the bill would require employers to provide personal information of their employees to union organizers, including home addresses and phone numbers, a substantial infringement of workers’ rights to privacy. The bill now moves to the Republican controlled Senate, where it has little chance of passing. The Senate version of the Bill has 40 co-sponsors, all Democrats.



The Department of Justice Closes Antitrust Investigation of Four Automakers
The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently closed its antitrust investigation into an agreement reached last July between the state of California and the automakers Ford, Honda, Volkswagen, and BMW over greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards, determining the parties violated no competition laws. The antitrust investigation started in September in response to the secretly negotiated agreement by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the four automakers. As reported in previous editions of Washington Wire, these four automakers and California reached this deal as the administration prepared to release a less stringent regulation, known as the Safer and Affordable Fuel Economy (SAFE) In contrast with the SAFE rule, the agreement has stronger fuel economy and lower GHG emissions standards.
Under the California agreement, the four automakers (about 30 percent of the U.S. auto market) are required to hit a fleetwide average of 51 miles per gallon (mpg) by model year (MY) 2026. While this is a significantly higher standard than the SAFE rule’s 37 mpg by MY 2026, it is looser than the original Obama administration standard of 54.5 mpg by MY 2025. In addition to increasing mpg, the agreement sets increasing year-over-year stringency standards for GHG emissions. Beginning with MY 2022, the automakers will need to reduce GHG emissions by an average rate 3.7 percent annually. This increasing stringency standard extends through to MY 2026, however, automakers can a use advanced technology multiplier credits for 1 percent of the 3.7 percent annual stringency rate. Also important to automakers, CARB agreed to remove a requirement to account for upstream emissions of fuels. Finally, the parties agreed to recognize California’s authority to set its own standards.
Even though the DOJ has dropped its investigation, increasing the likelihood that California and the 4 automakers move ahead with the agreement, does not mean a California emissions and fuel economy standard will usurp the Trump administration’s SAFE rule. In October, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, and Toyota announced they were siding with the Trump administration and not California over automobile fuel economy standards. As automakers take sides between California and the Trump administration, auto suppliers will continue to seek a uniform national standard that also incentivizes OEMs to continue sourcing new components and tooling to keep up with the latest fuel efficiency standards.