President Trump Weighs In On Opportunity Youth

Today the Trump Administration released its proposed fiscal-year 2018 budget. A table with key opportunity youth-related line items is below.

Each year the president’s budget serves as a starting point for conversations with Congress about government funding; few of its specifics make it into law. But for a new administration that has so far been chary with details, the budget offers the first detailed look at how the president and his team – or at least Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and his staff – would like to change the federal government.

The headline from this budget for many NYEC members is likely to be the approximately 40 percent cut to WIOA Title I formula funds. Other harmful proposals include the elimination of AmeriCorps and the Community Service Block Grant.

The budget also launches first volleys on policy changes the administration would like to see enacted, most notably by including a large new initiative to encourage school districts to launch “public school voucher” policies including portable and weighted per pupil funding and open enrollment. The budget also proposes for the Education Innovation and Research Program, which included a priority for dropout reentry in its last round, to have a focus on school choice policies generally. These kinds of policies, championed by center-right education experts like former Institute for Educational Sciences director Russ Whitehurst, may be a first step toward advocacy of broader voucher programs that allow money to flow to private schools. See Kristal’s article for more detail on where Supreme Court precedent currently stands with regards to voucher programs.

Other Notes on the Budget
The administration’s budget assumes a very rosy economic outlook, with a goal of 3 percent annual GDP growth, yielding high levels of revenue for the federal government. This outlook, however, is based on a flawed assumption underlying President Trump’s trade policies. These assumptions about economic growth impact not only the amount of federal revenue coming in, but many other variables on which Director Mulvaney’s proposal relies: the ability of states to pick up the tab as the federal government spends less on Medicaid, the availability of jobs for the SNAP recipients that the administration would like to subject to work requirements, the financial health of new college graduates who will lose the benefits of subsidized student loans, and many others.

It will be at least a few weeks before we learn Congressional leaders’ official response to this budget. House and Senate leaders are not expected to release budget blueprints until mid-June. In the meantime, broad coalitions and perhaps some of the president’s core supporters, will have their say.