President Barack Obama introduced his 2014 budget proposal on Wednesday, highlighting new efforts to increase funding for education and juvenile justice. Although the president described his proposal as “not optimal,” but necessary for compromise, agencies such as Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice were quick to praise funding included for needed mental health services, prevention of gun violence and investments in early childhood education.
The president’s budget calls for $3.77 trillion in spending and anticipates $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years. HouseRepublicans and Senate Democrats already passed their 2014 budget resolutions, which Congress will move to reconcile with each other and the president’s proposal in the coming months. House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), in a video statement, argued in favor of the House resolution, stating that the president’s budget doesn’t “come to balance.”
The president’s justice programs proposals focus on efforts to support evidence-based practices and to increase awareness of what works.
The budget proposes to couple “formula Byrne Justice Assistance Grant and Juvenile Accountability Block Grant programs with competitive incentive grants that provide ‘bonus’ funds to States and localities for better, evidence-based use of formula funds.” It also expands funds for juvenile justice “what works” best practices clearinghouses.
The proposal includes $332 million for juvenile justice programs, including $25 million to fund the Community-Based Violence initiative and $30 million for Juvenile Accountability Block Grants, meaning each program remains at its funding level from the President’s 2013 budget. The budget also includes $20 million for Juvenile Justice Realignment Incentive grants, which aim to assist states that are pursuing evidence-based reforms that foster better outcomes for youth. And $23 million is also made available for research and pilot projects aimed on developing responses to youth exposed to violence.
The budget proposal also provides $119 million for the Second Chance Act grant program, which aims to help ex juvenile and adult offenders return successfully to society and reduce recidivism. This up from the $80 million proposed in the President’s 2013 budget.