Cut-Heavy House Spending Would Eliminate AmeriCorps and YouthBuild, Among Others

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Late Friday, the House Appropriations Committee released its proposed continuing resolution bill for fiscal 2011 spending, which includes plans to eliminate completely the Corporation for National and Community Service, YouthBuild and a number of other youth-focused federal spending streams.

The bill also included deep cuts to juvenile justice spending, state and local law enforcement grants and Head Start.

The committee released a list earlier in the week of programs and spending lines it would target. The list of cuts included in the actual bill goes even further. For instance, the early-week list included a $2.3 million cut to juvenile justice; the bill includes $191.1 million cut from that account.

The bill would eliminate spending for the Corporation for National and Community Service, including its signature program, AmeriCorps. The Republican Study Group also proposed permanent elimination of the agency in its recent report, which is the basis for a Republican-sponsored bill on long-term spending plans.

The steep cuts set up a potential spending battle with the Senate that, if it is not resolved before March 4, could result in the first shut-down of the federal government since 1995. 

Many advocates for federal youth policies and funding spent the weekend and Monday crafting a strategy to confront the House proposals.

“Hopefully a convincing argument can be made that an investment in juvenile justice is investing in crime prevention,” said one advocate. “Messaging is so important in these critical times.”

Who delivers the message will also matter. It will likely fall to champions of youth programs in the Senate to hold the line on any spending.

"The Senate’s going to need to buck up, and it’s our responsibility to help them buck up,” said Seth Turner, senior director of government affairs for Goodwill Industries. “Anybody being quiet is going to get creamed.”

Asked to identify CNCS’ biggest supporters, one advocate mentioned Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.).

Cochran was one of nine Republican senators who signed a letter to George W. Bush in 2003, a year in which AmeriCorps faced a significant cut in funding. The letter called on Bush to request funding to bolster the program.

"We know you agree that AmeriCorps is an outstanding program which has proven successful in addressing our homeland security needs, leveraging volunteers, and improving the quality of services available to a broad range of Americans,” the letter to Bush said.

YouthBuild, which received $102.5 in 2010, has long been championed by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.).

Turner said he is optimistic that the large cut to job training proposed by the House – which definitely includes YouthBuild and could include a portion of the Youth Activities funded by the Workforce Investment Act – will “get a cold reception in the Senate.”

Following is the list of youth programs that the House Appropriations Committee proposed to zero out completely or cut deeply:

ZEROED OUT

LABOR

YouthBuild

2010:  $102.5m

Re-Integration of Ex-Offenders

2010: $108.5m

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Mentoring Children of Prisoners

2010: $49.3m

Teen Pregnancy Prevention Community Grants

2010: $110 m

EDUCATION

Teach for America

2010: Earmark for $18 m

State Grants for Incarcerated Youth

2010: $17.2 m

INDEPENDENT AGENCIES 

Corporation for National and Community Service

Cut would leave $125 m compared with 2010 figure of $1.149b

CUT SIGNIFICANTLY IN HOUSE PLAN

AGRICULTURE

Women, Infants and Children:

Drop from 2010: $747.2 m cut

2010 Total: $7.3b total

JUSTICE

State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance (Byrne Justice Assistance Grants and Discretionary Grants)

Drop from 2010: $581 m

2010: $744

Juvenile Justice

Drop from 2010: $191.1 m

2010: $423.6 m

HEATH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Maternal and Child Health Block Grant

Drop from 2010: $50 m

2010: $662.1 m

Head Start

Drop from 2010: $1.1b

2010: $7.2 b

EDUCATION

21st Century Learning Centers

Drop from 2010: $100 m

2010: $1.166 b