May 28, 2021
Statement by US Labor Secretary Walsh on the President’s FY 2022 Budget
President proposes key investments to strengthen the unemployment insurance system; expand
pathways to good-paying jobs; safeguard workers’ health, financial security
WASHINGTON, DC – The Biden-Harris administration today submitted to Congress the President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2022. As the administration continues to make progress defeating the pandemic and getting our economy back on track, the budget makes historic investments that will help the country build back better and lay the foundation for shared growth and prosperity for decades to come.
“The President’s Budget renews the Department of Labor’s commitment to help America’s workers, particularly those from disadvantaged communities, find pathways to high-quality, good-paying jobs,” said Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “The president’s initiatives also restore the department’s capacity to protect the health, safety, rights and financial security of all workers. Additionally, the American Jobs Plan’s investments further enhance the department’s ability to meet its mission by creating pathways to millions of high-quality jobs and rebuilding our country’s infrastructure.”
The budget includes the two historic plans the president has already put forward – the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan – and reinvests in education, research, public health and other foundations of our country’s strength. At the Department of Labor, the budget would:
- Expand Registered Apprenticeship Opportunities. The budget proposes $285 million for Registered Apprenticeships, an increase of $100 million from the 2021 enacted level, to expand access to this proven model for historically underrepresented groups and to diversify the industry sectors involved. The American Jobs Plan will build on this investment with $10 billion over 10 years to create one to two million new Registered Apprenticeship slots and to strengthen the pipeline for more women and people of color to access these opportunities.
- Help Workers Find Pathways to Good-Paying Jobs. America’s economic health is at its best when workers have multiple accessible pathways to good-paying jobs. To that end, the budget proposes an increase of $203 million to Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act state grants to make employment services and training available to more dislocated workers, low-income adults and disadvantaged youth who have been hurt by the economic fallout from the pandemic. The budget also includes increased investments in programs that serve disadvantaged workers and job seekers, including justice-involved individuals, at-risk youth and American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian individuals. The American Jobs Plan will further ensure workers are able to acquire the skills they need to succeed with investments in proven workforce development models, such as sector-based training programs, comprehensive supports for dislocated workers, and expanded access to intensive, staff-assisted career services.
- Make Overdue Improvements to the Unemployment Insurance system. The Biden-Harris administration knows what a life-saving role Unemployment Insurance benefits have played during the coronavirus pandemic, but also that delays and barriers for those seeking benefits have been devastating for families. The President’s Budget takes initial steps to address deficiencies in the UI system by providing the first comprehensive update in decades to the formula that funds states’ UI administration, helping to better equip states to handle higher volumes of claims and to be better prepared for future crises. It also requests $100 million to support the development and deployment of IT solutions in states to ensure timely and equitable delivery of UI benefits.
- Rebuild Capacity to Protect Workers’ Rights, Benefits and Safety. During the past four years, the department’s worker protection agencies have lost 14 percent of their staff, limiting their ability to perform inspections and conduct investigations to protect the health, safety, rights and financial security of workers in America. The budget reverses this trend with increases totaling nearly $300 million in the worker protection agencies, including $73 million for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, $67 million for the Mine Safety and Health Administration, $35 million for the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and $37 million for the Employee Benefits Security Administration. The American Jobs Plan further bolsters the department’s worker protection agencies with an additional investment of $7.5 billion over 10 years. These increases will rebuild enforcement capacity, expand whistleblower protection programs and increase outreach and compliance assistance.
- Protect Workers’ Paychecks. The budget proposes an increase of more than $30 million for the Wage and Hour Division. This increase will allow the division to aggressively combat worker misclassification, a practice that robs workers of their rightful wages, benefits and protections, and fully enforce the other areas under its purview, including prevailing wages and family and medical leave.
Enacting the budget policies into law this year would strengthen our nation’s economy and lay the foundation for shared prosperity, while also improving our nation’s long-term fiscal health.
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Release Number: 21-954-NAT
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