The Biden-Harris administration today released the President’s Fiscal Year 2023 Budget and Fiscal Year 2022-2026 Strategic Plan. The President’s Budget details his vision to expand on the historic progress our country has made over the last year and deliver the agenda he laid out in his State of the Union address: to build a better America, reduce the deficit, reduce costs for families and grow the economy from the bottom up and middle out.
The strategic plan describes the goals and objectives the department plans to accomplish over the next four years.
“President Biden’s 2023 budget request of $14.6 billion in discretionary resources for the Department of Labor is an explicit value statement on empowering workers morning, noon and night,” said Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “It calls for investments in the foundations of our country’s strength – our workers, their families and their communities. The Budget delivers on the heart of the President’s economic agenda, seeks to advance equity and harnesses our economy to lift our people toward good middle-class jobs.”
The budget makes critical investments in the American people that will help lay a stronger foundation for shared growth and prosperity for generations to come. At the Department of Labor, the budget would:
- Empower and protect workers. To ensure employers treat workers with dignity and respect, the discretionary request invests $2.2 billion – an increase of $397 million over the 2021 enacted level – in the department’s worker protection agencies. This will enable the department to conduct the enforcement and regulatory work needed to ensure workers’ wages and benefits are protected and improve workplace health and safety. It also restores resources to oversee and enforce the equal employment obligations of federal contractors, including protections against discrimination based on race, gender, disability, gender identity and sexual orientation.
- Equip workers with the skills they need to obtain high-quality jobs. The budget invests in effective, evidence-based training models to equip workers with the skills they need to obtain high-quality jobs by requesting $303 million to expand Registered Apprenticeship opportunities while increasing access for historically underrepresented groups. Community colleges play a critical role in providing accessible, low-cost, high-quality training. The budget calls for $100 million to build their capacity to work with the public workforce development system and employers to design and deliver high-quality training for in-demand jobs. It also includes $100 million for a new Sectoral Employment through Career Training for Occupational Readiness program, which will support sector-based training programs focused on growing industries, providing underserved and underrepresented workers access to good jobs and creating the skilled workforce the economy needs to thrive.
- Improve access and equity in the unemployment insurance system. Unemployment insurance benefits helped over 53 million workers who lost their jobs through no fault of their own and put some $870 billion back into the economy during the pandemic. The budget invests $3.4 billion to modernize, protect and strengthen this critical program. This includes several investments aimed at tackling fraud in the UI program, including funding to support enhanced identity verification for UI applicants and help states develop and test fraud-prevention tools and strategies. They will also allow the Office of Inspector General to increase its investigations into fraud rings targeting the UI program. The budget also puts forward principles for UI reform. As the pandemic has made clear, regular UI benefits in most states are far too low, leaving families without the resources needed to make ends meet during an economic crisis.
- Safeguard equal opportunity and nondiscrimination. The budget provides additional support to the Civil Rights Center to expand its enforcement work and also supports the efforts of the Women’s Bureau to remedy the negative impact of the pandemic on women. In addition, the budget provides additional funding to allow the Office of Disability Employment Policy to test new strategies to enable low-income youth with disabilities to transition to employment.
- Strengthen mental health parity protections. The budget requires all health plans to cover mental health benefits, ensures that plans have an adequate network of behavioral health providers and improves the department’s ability to enforce the law. Additionally, the budget includes $275 million over 10 years to increase the department’s capacity to ensure that large group market health plans and issuers comply with mental health and substance use disorder requirements and to take action against plans and issuers that do not comply.
The President’s Budget makes these smart investments while also reducing deficits and improving our country’s long-term fiscal outlook.