April 2023

  • Subcommittee for Labor, Health and Human Services and Education
  • Subcommittee for Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies
  • Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
  • Subcommittee for the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

The 118th Congress has begun its annual budget process. Within the context of our Staffing The Front Lines campaign, the AFSCME Federal Government Affairs department has been working to advocate for the funding our communities need to deliver the critical public services people rely upon. As you know and as AFSCME research has shown, nationwide there are more than 500,000 public-sector jobs that are vacant.

Robust federal investments are essential to staff the front lines of public services. Investments are also needed to rebuild capacity at state and local levels and recover economically from the pandemic. AFSCME is urging Congress to reject cuts to essential investments and to heed the warnings of Mark Zandi, Chief Economist at Moody’s Analytics, and others that deep spending cuts would trigger a severe recession and result in the loss of 2.6 million jobs

Subcommittee for Labor, Health and Human Services and Education 

This subcommittee funds programs critical to strengthening communities by providing resources to state and local governments. AFSCME members are on the front lines of delivering essential services that most Americans rely on every day. Yet, many people are experiencing challenges accessing these services due to serious staffing shortages. The staffing crisis in hospitals, community health centers, child care, substance use treatment and mental health services, libraries, job training, social services and public health departments is making workloads unsustainable, increasing turnover and burnout and harming our communities. AFSCME has urged Congress to build on last year’s $226.8 billion by increasing the allocation for the Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee to a level that ensures robust and sustained investments so that these programs can meet our communities' vital needs. 

Subcommittee for Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies 

AFSCME members serve in roles that touch every aspect of our justice system, working to protect the public and helping those who violate the law to get their lives back on track. AFSCME members are law enforcement officers who patrol our streets; administrative employees who keep our court system running; corrections officers who oversee individuals in jails and prisons; probation and parole officers who monitor and support offenders; youth services workers who help troubled juveniles; and social workers who support crime victims. Federal funds are vital to improving our nation’s public safety and criminal justice systems, including the hiring and retaining of staff, providing resources for life-saving equipment, and trainings to foster stronger community relationships. AFSCME’s ask to Congress is to provide over $2.7 billion for various programs including Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants, COPS (Community Oriented Policing), PSOB, Officer Training, and VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) programs. 

Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies 

AFSCME members work hard to maintain and repair public housing and work in administrative roles at Public Housing Authorities to ensure applicants, residents and employees in HUD-assisted housing meet program requirements and guidelines. Importantly, our members keep America moving, ensuring that people and goods travel safely throughout the country, including getting students to schools and workers to their jobs safely and efficiently. AFSCME members design, build, maintain and operate our nation’s streets, highways, bridges, airports, public transportation systems, parking facilities and ports. AFSCME members also maintain our buses and rapid transit trains, plow our roads, direct traffic, and inspect bridges, highways and tunnels. AFSCME has urged Congress to provide funding that is at least equal to President Biden’s budget request. 

Subcommittee for the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies 

AFSCME members are the operators, maintenance workers, engineers and scientists working at public utilities to ensure that our communities have access to safe and affordable drinking water, and that wastewater and sewage treatment activities protect our environment. Before COVID, communities saw a shortage of water and wastewater treatment plant operators, largely due to retirements, but the pandemic made the staffing crisis worse. Without qualified staff to ensure state and federal standards are met for our drinking water and our wastewater, we run the risk of failing to provide an essential public health service. AFSCME workers also depend on key federal programs to support their work in addressing climate change, pollution and environmental justice for their communities. AFSCME has asked Congress for funding totaling nearly $3.3 billion for federal several programs such as Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, Clean Water State Revolving Fund, Public Water System Supervision Grants, Environmental Justice (EJ) Program, and the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.  

If you would like additional details on the specific budgetary requests made to the House Appropriations Committee, please do not hesitate to reach out.   

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