Youth Challenge Program may get funding boost

WASHINGTON – Additional funding for the National Guard Youth Challenge Program has been included in the House of Representatives’ version of the 2014 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., said.

An amendment by McKinley to increase the funding by $10 million to $135 million was unaimously approved, he said. The National Guard Youth Challenge Program, which is the Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy in West Virginia, has helped more than 115,000 youth graduate from high school and gain the skills and values to succeed, he said.

“We all face different struggles growing up and some of us overcome those challenges while others have a harder time,” McKinley said. “Over the years, the National Guard Youth Challenge program has successfully helped thousands of young men and women who needed a helping hand or a second chance at life. That’s why this program must continue as it helps build our future leaders.”

Reps. Grace Napolitano, Jerry McNerney and Alan Lowenthal of California are co-sponsors of the amendment.

The mission of the Youth Challenge Program is to intervene in and reclaim the lives of 16-18 year old high school dropouts, producing program graduates with the values, life skills, education and self-discipline necessary to succeed as productive citizens.

In other news, Rep. Bill Johnson, D-Ohio, and Rep. Doug Lamborn, chairman of the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee, on Friday introduced House Resolution 2824, the Preventing Government Waste and Protecting Coal Mining Jobs in America Act, to prevent the administration from revising the 2008 Stream Buffer Zone Rule to coal production. The administration’s proposed regulation could cost 7,000 jobs and cause economic harm in 22 states, Johnson said.

On the Senate side, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., sent a letter to the chairman and the ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee saying his top priority for tax reform is to reduce income inequality and help those Americans living in poverty.

“Tax reform gives us an opportunity to do enormous good if we can remain focused on what our real priorities should be,” Rockefeller said.

Rockefeller said he responded to a request from call Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Ranking Member Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who asked senators for recommendations proposals for tax reform.

Rockefeller is a member of the Finance Committee and is the chairman of the subcommittee on health.

Rockefeller said he will not support legislation that avoids raising significant revenue. A target of $975 billion in additional revenue is suitable, he said.