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The Corporation provides opportunities for 1.5 million Americans of all ages to engage in community-based service that addresses the Nation's educational, public safety, environmental and other human needs. The budget proposes $733 million for the Corporation, to support 50,000 AmeriCorps members and expand opportunities for seniors to serve their community.
The budget includes $203 million for the National Senior Service Corps, a $14 million increase over 2001 and the first step of the President's strategy to increase the annual funding for the Senior Corps to $250 million over five years. In addition, the budget provides $35 million in new senior initiatives, including:
$20 million for a Silver Scholarship program to allow older Americans to volunteer 500 hours of service tutoring and mentoring students in after-school programs in exchange for a $1,000 scholarship that can be deposited in an education savings account for use by their children, grandchildren, or another child; and
$15 million for a Veterans Mission for Youth program that provides matching grants to community organizations that connect veterans and military personnel with America's youth through mentoring, tutoring, after-school and other programs.
The Corporation maintains a trust fund from which to pay AmeriCorps education awards. In 2002, the Corporation has sufficient balances to pay all demands for education awards and does not need to continue the 2001 appropriation for the trust fund.
Over the next year, the Corporation will also seek innovative ways to complement the President's initiative to strengthen faith-based service groups. It will review higher cost programs and assess if program consolidations and streamlining will offer opportunities for continuing service at the 2002 level.
The budget requests $310 million for EEOC, an increase of $7 million, or 2.3 percent, over the 2001 enacted level. This includes funding to meet increased staff costs. The Commission will continue to dedicate resources to further reduce its backlog of private sector cases and utilize technology and other strategies to improve the processing of discrimination charges.
The budget provides $503 million for GSA (net discretionary budget authority), primarily for the Office of Governmentwide Policy, the Office of Inspector General, and the construction of Federal buildings. However, the budget estimates obligations exceeding $18 billion through GSA's revolving funds. This spending level:
Funds one of the largest repair and alteration programs ever. More than $827 million is proposed for the repair and alteration of Federal buildings, financing 34 major rehabilitation projects.
Provides over $500 million, including $276 million in advance appropriations included in the 2001 Budget, for the design and/or construction of 13 courthouse projects.
Increases GSA's critical infrastructure program by 38 percent to support the Government's response to attacks on its information systems infrastructure.
Continues the FirstGov initiative, which provides a central site for Internet access to all online government information
Provides $10 million in 2002 as the first installment of a $100 million fund to support the interagency electronic Government (e-gov) initiative.
Since its creation in 1974, LSC has provided grants to local organizations that provide civil legal advice to low-income clients across the country. These grants account for approximately half of the operating budgets of these organizations. LSC-funded programs serve every State and county in the Nation. The 2002 Budget provides funding at the 2001 enacted level of $329 million. Ninety-seven percent of these funds will be distributed to grant recipients across the country.
The most common types of cases handled by grant recipients are related to family law, domestic violence, housing, employment, Government services, and consumer matters. Two-thirds of their clients are women, many of whom have young children. LSC's clients are as diverse as the Nation, encompassing all racial and ethnic groups of all ages. LSC-funded programs do not handle criminal cases, nor do they accept fee-generating cases. In 1996, Congress passed a series of new restrictions on the activities of programs receiving Federal funds. These limitations provide that LSC-funded programs may not challenge welfare reform, represent non-documented persons, request attorneys' fees, litigate of behalf of prisoners, or bring class action lawsuits.
NEA supports individual and group efforts to achieve excellence in the arts and promotes artistic endeavors as an avenue to serving the American public. Specific programs enhance personal development in the arts, arts education, preservation of American arts heritage, expansion of the arts to under-served regions and populations, and investigation of non-Federal sources for support of national arts activities. The 2002 Budget provides for the continuation of programmatic activities at the 2001 enacted level and includes an increase to fund Federal staff costs. It also offers States greater say in how funding is spent.
NEH supports activities designed to promote national progress in the humanities. Specific programs are aimed at improving the quality of humanities scholarship, the preservation of national humanities resources, and increasing the accessibility of the humanities to the American public. The 2002 Budget provides for the continuation of programmatic activities at the 2001 enacted level and includes an increase to fund Federal staff costs.
RRB administers retirement/survivor and unemployment/sickness insurance benefits for the Nation's railroad workers and their families. The railroad retirement system includes a benefit equivalent to Social Security benefits and a pension benefit. The 2002 Budget proposes an increase to fund Federal staff costs to administer the program. The railroad retirement system's pension program is not fully funded like other private industry pension plans; indeed, there is a $39.7 billion unfunded liability. Any examination of the program should set as first priorities ending taxpayer subsidies to the program and ensuring the industry funds its workers' pensions.
The 2002 Budget provides $494 million, a $40 million, or nine percent, increase over 2001. The Smithsonian operates 14 museums in Washington, D.C. and New York City, the National Zoo, and research facilities for astrophysical research in Cambridge, MA, tropical research in Panama, and environmental research on the Chesapeake Bay. For salaries and expenses, the budget proposes $396.2 million. Within this request, the Smithsonian will redirect some funds from within its base programs to fund new initiatives in information technology and outreach activities.
The 2002 Budget includes $97.9 million for repair, restoration, and construction of Smithsonian buildings. This represents an increase of $30.8 million, or 46 percent, over 2001. It includes $30 million toward fulfilling the Federal commitment to complete the National Museum of the American Indian on the Mall. The budget also provides funds for the continuing renovation of the Patent Office Building, the Nation's third oldest Government building in Washington, D.C., and the home of the Smithsonian's American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery.
The Smithsonian, along with other cultural agencies in the Nation's capital such as the National Gallery of Art, the U.S. Holocaust Museum, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, needs to focus on maintaining its existing buildings and facilities. Within the next year, each agency will prepare a plan that encompasses long-range estimates for maintenance of its facilities and buildings as part of a broad review of future needs.
The Smithsonian, as well as the other cultural agencies, operates as a partnership between the Federal Government and the private sector. Although some funds are federally appropriated, the Smithsonian also depends on gifts and donations from the private sector. In order to allow analysis of the agency's total budget and needs for Federal funds, it is necessary to understand its budget in totality. The Smithsonian will improve the reporting of its public and private budget needs and plans to the public.
SSA is responsible for paying benefits to more than 50 million people every month, processing more than six million claims for benefits each year, handling approximately 59 million phone calls to its 800-number, and issuing 138 million Social Security statements that help provide a broad-based understanding of the Social Security program.
The budget proposes $7,672 million for SSA, an increase of $456 million, or 6.3 percent, above the 2001 enacted level of $7,216 million. This amount includes sufficient resources to ensure stable staffing in 2002 and will allow SSA to maintain performance in key service delivery areas, such as retirement claims processing. It will allow SSA to process about 100,000 more initial disability claims in 2002 than in 2001. This funding also will help SSA to continue its multi-year continuing disability review (CDR) plan, eliminating the CDR backlog in 2002, as well as significantly increase the non-disability redetermination effort. In addition, this amount includes resources for SSA to continue to modernize its computer infrastructure and continue with its efforts to offer services in an online environment.
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