Currently reading The Innovators by Walter Isaacson / 21 days until 114th Congress / 65 days until Spring Training
This time of year is bittersweet. The CRomnibus bill passed last week with much fanfare, but not much good news for any domestic programs whose funding is historically low. The government, though, will remain open. As it turns out, the American people don’t expect much more than that. Only 13% of Americans are confident that Congress can work together in the new Congress. The New York Times argues that the fight this week indicates that Congress has lost the ability to compromise. Despite this, I am trying to remain optimistic for the 114th Congress.
With the CRomnibus passage last week and the spending bills in recent years, it is growing clearer that Community Action cannot count on Appropriations bills to garner resources. The good news is that Congress continues to reject Obama’s attempt to shut down our programs on a bi-partisan basis.
Funding for domestic discretionary programs has been stagnant for the last several years. Unless it is an emerging crisis such as Ebola or border security, increased funding is unlikely. We have new friends on Weatherization and LIHEAP funding is consistent, but most of our programs are struggling with resources. I know that Community Action needs more funding, but until CSBG is reauthorized, it is simply not going to happen.
Next year, I am committed to focus more than in a long time on getting our agencies the resources they need to serve their communities. My biggest goal (more than peace on earth or an exciting World Series) is to bring Community Action into a secure funding environment. It may be a little early to think of Christmas next year, but I hope by December 2015 I can give Community action that gift.