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On December 20, National Skills Coalition wrote to Members of the House of Representatives expressing strong opposition to H.R. 6684, the Spending Reduction Act of 2012, which would make additional deep cuts to NDD programs.
H.R. 6684 is similar to the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012, which passed the House in May 2012, and represents the latest chapter in the ongoing fiscal cliff negotiations. Enactment of H.R. 6684 would be devastating for non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs. Though it would prevent sequester cuts to defense discretionary programs, it would do nothing to stop cuts to vital NDD programs, and would in fact, require Congress to find an additional $19 billion in savings through cuts to NDD. Furthermore, H.R. 6684 would eliminate the “50-50 funds” under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment & Training (SNAP E&T) program. If enacted, this provision would dramatically reduce the availability of critical job training services for low‐skilled SNAP recipients, leaving them with few viable options to gain the skills they need to enter employment and exit SNAP.
NDD programs, including workforce development programs, have borne the brunt of deficit reduction efforts so far. Since Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, NDD programs have been cut by 10 percent on average, with many programs cut by as much as 50 percent. These programs simply cannot absorb any additional cuts.
Federal workforce development programs will be deeply impacted by these cuts as well. Despite federal disinvestments of more than 30 percent since 2001—with more than $1 billion in cuts just since 2010—critical employment and training programs stand to lose billions more under H.R. 6684.
The House will vote on H.R. 6684, along with a proposal to extend current tax rates for income under $1 million, later today. Though the measures will likely pass the House, it is unlikely that either measure will be taken up by the Senate. In addition, President Obama has issued a statement promising to veto the House’s tax proposal in the event it reaches his desk.
National Skills Coalition will continue to monitor fiscal cliff negotiations, and will provide updates as more information comes available.