Biden seeks 14 percent funding boost for DOL in FY 2022

By Rebecca Rainey 04/09/2021 11:00 AM EDT

President Joe Biden wants to give the Labor Department $14.2 billion in funding as part of his 2022 budget request, a 14 percent boost from the previous year.

In total, Biden is requesting an additional $1.7 billion for DOL, which includes increased funding for the agency’s enforcement arms as well as funding to boost state unemployment insurance systems.

“The discretionary request provides increased funding to the worker protection agencies in the Department of Labor to ensure workers are treated with dignity and respect in the workplace,” a summary of the budget request says.

To correct for “weaknesses” and to “address chronic delays,” the request “includes significant support to improve States’ administration of the program, which builds on investments included in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021,” the document says.

Enforcement: Biden is requesting $2.1 billion for DOL’s worker protection agencies, 17 percent more than what the agency received in fiscal year 2021. The administration says the increase is needed after the department’s enforcement agencies shed 14 percent of their staff during the Trump administration.

Unemployment insurance: Biden’s budget blueprint also requests that DOL update how it calculates the funding it provides to state unemployment agencies to process and pay out jobless benefits, which the White House says would be “the first comprehensive update in decades.” The budget request also would provide $100 million to the agency to shore up its information technology assistance to states.

Retraining: The budget request also seeks $285 million for the agency’s registered apprenticeship program, a $100 million increase from fiscal year 2021.

To aid workers displaced by the transition to renewable energy, Biden’s budget calls for a $100 million DOL investment in a new “POWER+ Initiative” that would be “aimed at reskilling and reemploying displaced workers in Appalachian communities.” The budget request also seeks $20 million for a similar program specifically targeted at providing clean energy job opportunities to veterans.

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