Congressional Committees Working on Budget
Kocher, Daniel, Hoople, Daniel, Nation's Cities Weekly
As Nation's Cities Weekly went to press, House and Senate Budget Committee members were meeting to resolve differences between the two budget resolutions passed by each chamber earlier this month.
Along with resolving issues surrounding the size of the proposed tax cut and economic stimulus package, reforming Social Security and Medicare, and creating a Medicare prescription drug benefit program, budget conferees are also trying to reach a compromise on discretionary spending. The House-passed budget resolution mirrors the Bush administration's request for $660 billion in discretionary spending. The Senate's resolution would increase the amount of discretionary spending by $28 billion to a total of $688 billion for fiscal year 2002.
The following chart, shown to the right and continued on page 8, outlines differences between the House and Senate budget resolutions, noting the National League of Cities' position on major categories of discretionary spending, affecting cities and towns.
Prospects are unclear regarding discretionary funding essential to municipal programs, as is often the case in budget negotiations where definite numbers from a final resolution are not immediately available. Although Congressional budget resolutions provide an outline for federal expenditures each year, actual spending levels are finalized during the appropriations process.
Issue House Budget Resolution Education Reform * Youth employment $1 billion (a decrease of $147 million) * Title I $9 billion ($459 million increase) * IDEA $7.3 billion ($1 billion increase) * Head Start Maintains funding at current level of approxi- mately $6.2 billion * Class size Eliminates $1.6 billion reduction * School Eliminates $1.2 billion construction and modernization Transportation Fully funds TEA 21 and AIR 21 authorized * TEA 21 levels; adds $250 mill * AIR 21 for Coast Guard Emergency Assumes President's Management proposal to eliminate pre-disaster mitigation * Pre-disaster funding and lower the mitigation federal match for post- * Matching for disaster mitigation pro- state/local jects post-disaster projects Law Enforcement Cuts $1.5 billion from * Local Law Enforce- state and local law ment enforcement assistance * Block Grant (LLE- programs, reducing BG) COPS funding from * Community Orient- $1.37 billion to $855 ed Police (COPS) million and cutting the LLEBG from $523 mil- lion to $400 million, Community Funds the CDBG and Development HOME programs at * Community Devel- last year's levels of opment Block Grant $4.4 billion and $1.8 (CDBG) billion respectively. * HOME Investment Partnerships Program Environment $850 million (SRF) * Clean Water Act sewer overflows $450 million * Drinking Water $823 million (SRF) Social Security Takes $600 away from the trust fund, divert- ing it to a new contin- gency fund. Medicare Proposes $109.9 billion * Reform over 10 years * Prescription drug Includes $43.1 billion benefit for an "immediate Helping Hand Prescrip- tion Drug Plan." Public Housing Would reduce funding * Public Housing for public housing pro- Capital Fund grams by $850 million, including a $700 mil- lion cut in the Public Housing Capital Fund and termination of the Public Housing Drug Elimination Program ($309 million). …