President’s 2009 Budget Takes Aim At Labor Department

    With a potential economic recession on the way, President George W. Bush released his 2009 annual budget proposal yesterday, cutting more than $234 million from job training programs.

    On top of that, a program for employment services to help adults with disabilities would be slashed in half by $15 million.The budget at the U.S. Department of Labor would be reduced by $888 million under the president’s proposal, a plan that sets the tone for lawmakers to debate the national budget and come to a consensus.

    One program that would be terminated is the Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers Training Program, an initiative offering assistance to seasonal workers that has been in existence since the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964.

    The department’s Work Incentive Grant Program, which provides grants to state job training services, would also be terminated. In 2006, the program awarded $1 million to the Colorado Workforce Development Council in Denver, a state employment initiative.

    According to White House budget documents, more than 10 programs at the Labor Department would be terminated, saving more than $1.4 billion. Bush’s proposal also contains a written explanation of the cuts, stating that many of the terminated programs were only “duplicating” other federal initiatives.

    But the budget only garnered criticism from Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., chairman of the House’s Education and Labor Committee, who released a statement yesterday criticizing the cuts to the Labor Department as a move in the “wrong direction.”

    Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at

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