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Here’s Why You Should Care About the President’s Budget
February 27, 2014
Next Tuesday, March 4, the President is expected to release his fiscal year (FY) 2015 Budget Proposal. The Budget Proposal is intended to outline the Administration’s funding priorities and serve as a guide for Congress as it moves through the federal funding process (appropriations process). In the last few years, though, Congress has operated largely independently as it moves through the process, paying little heed to the Administration’s proposals. So why do we still care about the President’s budget proposal?
Well, first and foremost, the release of the proposal usually kicks off the federal funding process for the upcoming fiscal year. It’s the first step in a long process and offers us the opportunity to begin working with members of Congress and get in on the ground floor. Advocating early and often for robust funding for key federal programs, such as HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants, is the best way to ensure that these programs have sufficient funding to do the work of ending homelessness in our communities.
Secondly, the President’s budget proposal matters because it indicates what the administration is putting forth as a priority. In recent proposals (FY 2014 and FY 2013 especially), the administration has proposed big increases (nearly 20 percent) to the McKinney-Vento grants. This indicates that HUD and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) knows this program works and want Congress to invest more in it. It also makes it easier for folks to advocate for increases with their members of Congress if they have the administration’s backing.
So we at the Alliance think the President’s budget Pproposal is very much worth paying attention to; and we think you should, too. In fact, we’re holding our annual President’s Budget Proposal webinar next Thursday, March 6, at 1:30 p.m. ET. Alliance policy staff will be discussing the details of the proposal and what it means for ending homelessness. Most importantly (in my not-so-humble opinion), the Alliance is going to use the webinar to kick off our McKinney and Veterans advocacy campaigns for FY 2015.
Join us in getting in on the ground floor. This year will continue to be an uphill battle; there’s no doubt about it. But if we work together, we can ensure we won’t ever have to fill out a NOFA application with tiers again (hoorah!). We need to advocate early and often to Congress for increased funds for homeless assistance programs to ensure that we can work to continue the great efforts in our communities.