over the program, took issue with Meeker over HUD's administration of the program: "What isn't clear is whether the program that you have been administering is the program Congress passed. . . . Some critics say HUD has been implementing until relatively recently the administration's [special] revenue sharing bill."63 The House, in keeping with its preference for decentralization, generally took a more sympathetic view of the dilemma HUD faced in accommodating both the national policy objectives of the law and the goal of greater local discretion. A House committee staff report noted: "An issue here is how can HUD satisfy its administrative responsibilities and at the same time meet the mandate for decentralized decisionmaking."64 Moreover, court cases and administrative complaints to HUD about its administration of the program and local spending decisions were filed soon after the program started.65
Partly because of these factors, HUD began as early as the second program year to give closer scrutiny to local applications, as can be seen in the case studies.
Overall, the 1974 legislation represented a major victory for the Nixon administration, which nonetheless was forced to go along with some congressionally imposed federal controls on how the CDBG money could be spent. These controls, however, were defined so generally in terms of broad national objectives and a long list of eligible activities that at the outset of the program recipient communities enjoyed considerable latitude in deciding on the specific kinds and mix of activities they would fund. With the exception of model cities, the grants consolidated into the CDBG had been more specific about what activities would be federally funded. In addition, the two major consolidated programs, urban renewal-neighborhood development and model cities, implied that some____________________