White House Budget Proposal Slashes DOL Funding by 21 Percent

Fiscal year 2018 blueprint indicates forthcoming mandatory E-Verify

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer March 16, 2017
White House Budget Proposal Slashes DOL Funding by 21 Percent

President Donald Trump's first budget proposal aims to scale back funding for job training and workplace enforcement at the Department of Labor (DOL), while ramping up spending on immigration enforcement and setting aside money for a nationwide E-Verify system.

The DOL budget for fiscal year (FY) 2018 would be cut by 21 percent to $9.6 billion, down from $12.2 billion for the prior year, according to a proposal released March 16.

The budget request indicates how the Trump administration would like to see federal funds allocated, but Congress has the final say on spending.

A detailed budget proposal is expected from the White House in May.

The plan calls for the DOL to focus on "its highest priority functions" and disinvest in activities that are "duplicative, unnecessary, unproven, or ineffective."

About three-quarters of the DOL's annual discretionary spending is devoted to funding for state unemployment insurance programs and administering thousands of state and local workforce training programs.

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 President Trump's FY 2018 plan seeks to reduce:

  • Some job training grants, including eliminating the Senior Community Service Employment Program. The White House said the program is ineffective in meeting its purpose of transitioning low-income unemployed seniors into jobs.
  • Some Job Corps centers which serve disadvantaged youth by closing centers with a poor record of preparing students for jobs.
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's safety training grants.
  • "Less critical" technical assistance grants from the Office of Disability Employment Policy.
  • Spending on enforcement at agencies such as the Wage and Hour Division and Occupational Safety and Health Administration.  

On the other hand, Trump is calling for additional spending to help states expand apprenticeships, which the White House called "an evidence-based approach to preparing workers for jobs."

E-Verify for All

The White House carves out $15 million from the proposed budget for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to begin implementation of mandatory nationwide use of E-Verify, currently a mostly voluntary online system that helps organizations determine the employment eligibility of workers in the United States.

E-Verify can only be made mandatory by Congress.

The DHS budget proposal also increases funds for immigration enforcement, including hiring 1,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in 2018.

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