Tucked into President Obama’s budget are a series of proposals that are aimed at assisting and expanding the prospects for African Americans in employment, education and business.
For one thing, the White House has proposed enhance access to college for minority students with a new $55 million initiative to increase college access through a competitive grant.
Additionally the budget contains several initiatives designed to strengthen minority-owned businesses. For example, the budget provides for $221 million for providing capital to businesses in low-income communities, targeting a portion of those funds for assistance to grocery stores and healthy food retailers in what it calls underserved communities.
The budget also provides money for several programs designed to promote entrepreneurship in minority communities, including the Small Business Administration’s Small Loan Advantage and Community Advantage programs and the Small Business Investment Company Impact Fund debenture program.
They will support investments that target residents of economically distressed areas. The budget also supports funding for the Minority Business Development Agency through the Department of Commerce.
Also, the budget includes a provision to strengthen anti-discrimination enforcement.
“Even in these fiscally constrained times,” the budget proposal states, “the substantial investments that have been made by the Administration to strengthen civil rights enforcement against racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, religious, gender, and gender identity discrimination continue in the 2013 Budget.”
More broadly, the budget also calls for several actions to stimulate job growth, including a proposal for $50 billion in infrastructure spending in 2012 as well as a plan to spend $476 billion for a surface transportation reauthorization proposal that the White House says will fund projects that will improve the nation’s highway, transit rail, airport and air traffic control systems.
In an effort to provide assistance low-income renters, the budget calls for $19.1 billion being made available for more than 2 million to help “extremely low- to low-income families with rental assistance live in decent housing in neighborhoods of their choice.”
The budget funds all existing mainstream vouchers and provides new vouchers targeted to homeless veterans.
“The administration remains committed to working with the Congress to improve the management and budgeting for the Housing Choice Voucher program, including reducing inefficiencies, and re-allocating Public Housing Authorities’ Housing Voucher reserves based on need and performance,” the budget document states.
Republican leaders have responded harshly to the proposed budget, saying that the president’s calculations were completely inaccurate. House Speaker John Boehner called the president’s budget plan, “a gloomy reflection of the president’s failed policies."
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