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THE FEDERAL BUDGET - FISCAL YEAR 2011

Expanding Opportunities for Asian American and Pacific Islander Families

Having steered the economy back from the brink of a depression, the Administration is committed to moving the Nation from recession to recovery by sparking job creation to get millions of Americans back to work and building a new foundation for the long-term prosperity for all American families. To do this, the 2011 Budget makes critical investments in the key areas that will help to reverse the decline in economic security that American families have experienced over the past decade with investments in education, clean energy, infrastructure, and innovation. But even as we meet the challenge of the recession and work to build an economy that works for all American families, we must also change the way Washington does business – ending programs that don’t work, streamlining those that do, cracking down on special interest access, and bringing a new responsibility to how tax dollars are spent. The President’s Budget takes the steps to help jumpstart job creation, works to strengthen the economic security of American families, and makes the tough choices to put our Nation back on the path to fiscal responsibility.

In an effort to address the multi-layered challenges affecting the diverse subgroups and communities that make up the more than 14 million Asian American and Pacific Islanders, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is housed in the Department of Education and includes a 23- member Interagency Working group and 20-member Commission.

To give Asian American and Pacific Islander families the tools that they need to succeed, the Budget will:

Spur Job Creation. The economy is back from the brink and is showing signs of health, but this positive news has barely been felt in the labor markets While we are no longer hemorrhaging jobs at the rate we were last year, unemployment is still unacceptably high. Looking to the future, the investments made in  the Budget in education, clean energy, infrastructure, and in several other areas will lay a new foundation for economic growth and job creation. But in the short-term, it is clear that the some targeted measures are required to spur private sector job creation. The Administration will work with Congress to implement a jobs creation package along the lines the President announced in December of 2009. It will include immediate steps to help small businesses grow and hire, to upgrade and build infrastructure, and create jobs through energy efficiency and clean energy investments. In addition, to help those most affected by the recession, the Budget will extend emergency assistance to seniors and families with children,  Unemployment Insurance benefits, COBRA tax credits, and relief to states and localities to prevent layoffs.

Reform the Job-Training System to Encourage Innovation and Empower Workers. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are one of the most rapidly growing groups in the work force. Our job training system is critical to giving all workers the opportunity to succeed in a changing economy, yet too often workers looking for good training cannot find it. As a complement to supporting reauthorization of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), the Budget provides $261 million in the Department of Labor and $60 million in the Department of Education for new innovation funds. They will support competitive grants for the most promising, research-based strategies, including regional approaches and sectoral partnerships for adults and the combination of summer or year-round employment with education for youths. The Departments will cooperate in the administration of the innovation grants as a part of a Partnership for Workforce Innovation that will create new incentives for states to break down silos, streamline service delivery, and eliminate duplication. The Partnership will be supported by new crossprogram waivers, which will be accompanied by new tools for measuring program performance and  sharing information with both policymakers and customers. Finally, the Budget targets high-growth sectors of the economy and workers often left behind through $85 million for green job training and $40 million for transitional jobs programs.

Strengthen Anti-Discrimination Enforcement. To strengthen civil rights enforcement against racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, religious, and gender discrimination, the Budget includes a 11 percent increase in funding to DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. This investment will help the Division handle implementation of a historic new hate crimes law. The Budget also provides a $18 million or 5 percent increase for the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC), which is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee. This increased investment will allow for more staff to reduce the backlog of private sector charges.

Promote Citizenship and Integration. The Budget increases support for integration of new immigrants, with $18 million identified to promote citizenship through education and preparation programs, replication of promising practices in integration for use by communities across the Nation, and expansion of innovative English learning tools. Among school-age children, 16 percent of Asian Americans and 7 percent of Pacific Islanders spoke a non-English language at home and spoke English with difficulty. Some subgroups experienced higher disparities. For instance, 24 percent of Vietnamese 5- to 17-year-olds spoke a non-English language at home and spoke English with difficulty. Reflecting this need, the Budget also increases funding for the English Language Acquisition State Grants program by $50 million, for a total investment of $800 million, in order to help more students learn English and meet challenging state academic content and student academic achievement standards.

Help Families Care for Aging and Disabled Relatives. The Budget includes $103 million for the Administration on Aging’s Caregiver Initiative and doubles funding in support of the Lifespan Respite Care Act. The Caregiver initiative is an effort to expand help to families and seniors so that caregivers can better manage their multiple responsibilities and seniors can live in the community for as long as possible. Of  this increase, $52.5 million will fund caregiver services and temporary respite care -- such as several days at a residential facility -- so that caregivers can get a much needed break. The Caregiver Initiative also provides an additional $50 million for other services that relieve both the time and financial stress that caring for an aging parent or family member can bring while improving the quality of life for seniors. Without creating new programs, this initiative provides new resources to support the network of agencies in local communities across the country that already provide critical help to seniors and caregivers.

Helping States Provide Paid Family Leave to Workers. Too many families must make the painful choice between the care of their families and a paycheck they desperately need. The Family and Medical Leave Act allows workers to take job-protected time off unpaid, but millions of families can’t afford to use unpaid leave. A handful of States have enacted policies to offer paid family leave, but more States should have the chance. The Budget establishes a $50 million State Paid Leave Fund within the Department of  Labor that will provide competitive grants to help States that choose to launch paid-leave programs cover their start-up costs.

Increase the Number of Math, Science, and Engineering Graduates. If the United States is going to create the industries of tomorrow and the jobs that come with it, we need to continue to invest in educating the scientists and engineers who will develop these breakthroughs. That’s why the Budget invests $61.6 billion in civilian research and development, an increase of $3.7 billion or 6.4 percent, and an amount that continues the commitment to double funding for three key basic research agencies – the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and the National Institute for Standards and Technology. The Budget expands graduate research fellowship programs that will train students in critical energy-related fields. In addition, the NSF, in partnership with the Department of Energy, will dedicate at least 5 percent of its undergraduate and graduate fellowship, scholarship, and traineeship programs, roughly $19 million in 2011, to students pursuing clean energy careers.

Reform Elementary and Secondary School Funding by Setting High Standards, Encouraging Innovation, and Rewarding Success. The Budget supports the Administration’s new vision for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The reauthorized law would encourage states to adopt higher, clearer standards that set the expectation that every student will graduate from high school ready for college and a career. The new law would support dramatic improvements in the quality of assessments to measure complex skills and help teachers identify and respond to students’ strengths and needs. The reauthorization would also recognize and reward schools for helping students make important gains, even if they are not yet at grade-level, and offer new flexibility for successful states and districts to pursue new solutions to helping all students meet high standards. At the same time, the law would require vigorous efforts to turn around persistently low-performing schools, applying comprehensive strategies that put children first. In support of these efforts, the Budget provides a $3 billion increase in funding for K to12 education programs authorized in the ESEA, including $900 million for School Turnaround Grants, and the Administration will request up to $1 billion in additional funding if Congress successfully completes ESEA reauthorization. Together, these measures would represent the largest funding increase for ESEA programs ever requested.

Grow High-Performing Charter Schools and Other Innovative Public Schools. Effective charter schools have achieved impressive results in closing achievement gaps. The Budget will invest $490 million to grow these schools and other autonomous public schools that achieve results, develop new approaches, and give parents more choices. The Budget will support new options for students to transfer to high performing public schools, support successful magnet schools, and require states and districts accepting these funds to create the conditions for effective schools to grow and ineffective schools to be restructured or shut down.

Increase Pell Grants and Put Them on a Firm Financial Footing. Pell Grants have helped millions of Americans afford college, yet in recent decades, growth in their value has fallen far behind the growth in college costs. The Recovery Act and 2009 appropriations bill increased the maximum Pell Grant by more than $600 for a total award of $5,350. The Budget proposes to make that increase permanent and put them on a path to grow faster than inflation every year, increasing the maximum grant by $1,000, expanding eligibility, and nearly doubling the total amount of Pell grants since the President took office. The Budget also addresses a second challenge: Pell Grants function much like an entitlement, yet they are funded through an annual appropriations process that can fall behind actual demand for the grants. The Budget proposes to make Pell Grant funding mandatory so that adequate Pell Grant funding is available every year.

Launch a New American Graduation Initiative to Help Graduate Five Million More Students by 2020. The Budget supports legislation that has passed the House and is pending in the Senate that would reform student lending to eliminate tens of billions of dollars in wasteful subsidies to banks, and instead, provide loans directly to students on an efficient basis that uses private and nonprofit companies to deliver services. This measure would then use savings to make historic investments to increase college access and success, and would lay a foundation for success for America’s youngest children. In addition to expanded Pell Grants and a simplified student aid system, these investments include a new American Graduation Initiative that will strengthen America’s community colleges through ties with employers, high schools, and other colleges; bolster remedial education; raise graduation rates; and set a goal of graduating 5 million more students by 2020.

Help Relieve the Burden of Student Loan Debt. For many students, the weak job market has only exacerbated the challenge of paying off student loan debt. To help graduates overburdened with student loan debt, the Administration will strengthen income-based repayment plans for student loans by reducing monthly payments and shortening the repayment period so that overburdened borrowers will pay only 10 percent of their discretionary income in loan repayments and can have their remaining debt forgiven after 20 years. Those in public service careers will have their debt forgiven after 10 years. The Budget also expands low-cost Perkins student loans.

Supports Business Growth and Lending. Of the various ethnic and racial groups in the United States, White non-Latinos and Asian Americans have the highest self-employment rates. Asian American men continue to have the highest rate of business ownership among minority groups. Asian women have the highest business ownership rate among women at 8.3 percent; and overall 10.3 percent of Asians are selfemployed.

This aggregated data, however, does not reflect the income and other disparities that exist between AAPI subgroups. This is why the Budget supports the availability of affordable financing in low-income communities by providing $250 million in targeted support to Community Development Financial Institutions throughout the Nation. This will help these local financial institutions offer affordable loans to small businesses, consumers, nonprofit developers, and home buyers in communities that lack access to affordable credit. To assist entrepreneurs to start businesses and create jobs in inner cities, the Budget includes $14 million for competitive technical assistance grants to expand SBA’s Emerging Leaders (formerly Emerging 200) initiative. The Emerging Leaders initiative provides intensive technical assistance to companies that have high growth potential and are located in distressed economic areas, such as inner cities and Native American communities, and connects them to regional business networks to accelerate growth.

Provides Small Business Access to Credit. The Budget provides $165 million in subsidy costs to support $17.5 billion in 7(a) loan guarantees that will help small businesses operate and expand. This includes an estimated $16 billion in term loans and $1.5 billion in revolving lines of credit; the latter are expected to support $39 billion in total economic activity through draws and repayments over the life of the guarantee. The Budget also supports $7.5 billion in guaranteed lending for commercial real estate development and heavy machinery purchases; $3 billion in Small Business Investment Company debentures to support new businesses and new jobs through early-stage and mezzanine small business financing; and $25 million in direct Microloans, for intermediaries to provide small loans to emerging entrepreneurs and other promising but "un-bankable" borrowers. The Budget also includes the following legislative proposals, to improve small business access to credit. It proposes to increase the maximum 7(a) loan size from $2 million to $5 million; to increase the maximum Certified Development Company (or “504”) loan size from $2 million to $5 million for regular projects and from $4 million to $5.5 million for manufacturing projects; and to increase the maximum Microloan size to $50,000. The Budget also proposes to increase the maximum outstanding loan amount to Microloan intermediaries in their first year of participation from $750,000 to $1 million, and from $3.5 million to $5 million in the subsequent years.

Improve Retirement Security. After a lifetime of employment, American workers deserve to know that their efforts have resulted in a secure retirement. The Administration is committed to giving Americans more and better choices to save for retirement while also strengthening the existing private pension system. The Budget proposes to expand and improve employment-based retirement security by establishing automatic workplace pensions, doubling the Small Employer Pension Plan Startup Credit from $500 a year to $1,000 per year, and reforming and expanding the Saver’s Credit by modifying the existing Saver’s Credit to provide a 50-percent match on the retirement savings of families that earn less than $85,000 (up to $1000 of savings would be matched). The Budget also proposes a number of initiatives to improve the transparency and adequacy of 401(k) retirement savings plans, through a majority of American workers save for retirement. In addition, the Budget will support efforts streamline efforts to bring automatic enrollment to these plans in order to boost participation.

Revitalize Distressed Urban Neighborhoods. The Budget reflects an integrated and performance-driven approach to distressed urban neighborhoods, where the challenges tied to jobs, education, public safety, and other needs intersect and compound each other. The Budget includes $250 million for HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods program, which will target neighborhoods anchored by distressed public or assisted housing with physical and social revitalization grounded in promising, measurable, and evidence-based strategies. Choice Neighborhoods also will coordinate with the Department of Justice, which is requesting $40 million for targeted, innovative programs to prevent gang violence as well as assist prisoners re-integrate into the job market and community life. The Budget also provides dedicated support for Promise Neighborhoods, modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone, which aims to improve college going rates by combining a rigorous K-12 education with a full network of supportive services in an entire neighborhood.

Increase Funding for the Housing Choice Voucher Program. The President’s Budget requests $19.6 billion for the Housing Choice Voucher program to help more than two million extremely low- to low income families with rental assistance to live in decent housing in neighborhoods of their choice. The Budget continues funding for all existing mainstream vouchers and provides flexibility to support new vouchers that were leased and $85 million in special purpose vouchers for homeless families with children, families at risk of homelessness, and persons with disabilities. The Administration remains committed to working with Congress to focus the goals and objectives of the program, as well as address the program's costly inefficiencies and to fully utilize available funding by alleviating the administrative burdens on the Public Housing Authorities that implement HUD voucher and other programs, and establish a funding mechanism that is transparent and predictable in order to serve more needy families.

Preserve 1.3 Million Affordable Rental Units through Project-Based Rental Assistance Program. The President’s Budget provides $9.4 billion for the Project-Based Rental Assistance program to preserve approximately 1.3 million affordable rental units through increased funding for contracts with private owners of multifamily properties. This critical investment will help extremely low- to low-income households to obtain or retain decent, safe and sanitary housing. In addition, the Administration requests $350 million to fund the first phase of this multi-year initiative to regionalize the Housing Choice Voucher program  and convert Public Housing to project-based vouchers.

Helps Communities Become More Sustainable and Livable. As part of the President's Partnership for Sustainable Communities, the Budget includes $150 million to help stimulate comprehensive regional and community planning efforts that integrate transportation and housing investments that result in more regional and local sustainable development patterns, reduce greenhouse gases, and increase more transit accessible housing choices for residents.

Promote Affordable Homeownership and Protect Families from Mortgage Fraud. The Budget requests $88 million for HUD to support homeownership and foreclosure prevention through Housing Counseling and $20 million to combat mortgage fraud. In addition, the Budget requests $250 million for the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation’s (NRC) grant and training programs. Of the $250 million, $113 million is requested for foreclosure prevention activities, a $48 million increase (74 percent) over 2010. NRC alone through its Foreclosure Prevention program has delivered counseling to over 630,000 households, and the 2011 request will allow NRC to provide counseling to about 40,000 households per month. In addition, HUD’s FHA mortgage insurance and the Treasury Department’s Home Affordable Mortgage Program are providing hundreds of thousands of homeowners with the opportunity to refinance distressed mortgages and significantly lower their monthly payments.

Expand Affordable High-Quality Primary and Preventive Care. The Budget includes $2.5 billion for health centers to provide affordable high quality primary and preventive care to underserved populations, including the uninsured. This funding will allow health centers to continue to provide care to the 2 million additional patients they served under ARRA and support approximately 25 new health center sites. In 2008, health centers provided direct health care services to over 17 million people. In 2011, the Health Center program will expand its partnerships with other Federal agencies as part of the Administration’s place-based initiative to revitalize neighborhoods. The Budget also includes funding to expand the integration of behavioral health into existing primary health care systems, enhancing the availability and quality of addiction care.

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