Last week Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) that contained important changes to the FY18 and FY19 budgeting process. These changes included a significant raise in the budget ceilings (known as caps) for both defense and non-defense discretionary funding. Raising the caps allows for significant increases in the overall spending in these areas for both fiscal years 2018 and 2019. The agreement did not specify where spending should be increased over existing levels nor did it target any specific programs other than a few that were in immediate danger of reduction or elimination.
At the same time as this process was unfolding, the administration budget office was crafting the president’s proposed budget for FY19 which was released on Monday. This budget was being developed prior to the increase in budget caps and consequently reflects the prior budget constraints as well as the administration’s belief that many programs should be reduced or eliminated regardless of the available funding.
ProLiteracy applauds the budget agreement that raises the caps for funding and we will be advocating strongly for a portion of that funding to go to adult literacy programs through Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act as well as other agencies and institutes important to our students and member programs.
We are distressed that the president’s proposed budget once again recommends a 16% reduction in state grants for adult education. The budget also calls for reductions and eliminations of many programs, including:
- The Corporation for National and Community Service
- Institute for Museum and Library Services
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- The Corporation for Public Broadcasting
These cuts could negatively impact our programs and the students they serve. We believe that Congress must ensure adequate funding for these vital programs as well as for core adult education programs.
Toward this end, ProLiteracy will be initiating a number of efforts to help support increased funding requests. These include:
- Initiating a targeted campaign for increased funding with appropriate Congressional committees and appropriators
- Creating tips and toolkits for our network to help them advocate locally for increases in funding
- Advocating for other similar initiatives that would support these programs
- Underscoring the importance of adult literacy as integral to the successful implementation of other social service programs and efforts
We will need significant field support from programs, volunteers, and students in key jurisdictions to ensure support for increases in funding and continuation of programs. We are hopeful we can count on support from the field for this effort and will do all we can to keep you informed of possible actions which will help to ensure success.