Printer Friendly

Budget firewalls still standing as House puts off debate.

The House Democratic leadership put off until next week final debate and the vote on HR 3732 t amend the 1990 budget agreement to break down the firewalls and permit defense or foreign aid savings to be reinvested in American communities.

The vote is expected to be very close.

The decision came against the background of the breaking check bouncing investigation in the House, intense lobbying by President Bush to defeat the NLC top priority bill, and conflicting statements out of the administration and members of Congress on the deficit.

Failure to approve the bill will mean a $6.4 billion cut in federal spending for domestic priorities next year. Passage would permit nearly $7 billion in savings from defense cuts to be reinvested in priority municipal programs and $5 billion in federal deficit reduction.

President Bush, who requested that Congress cut aid in every priority community program in his budget, while increasing foreign aid and the federal deficit, last week met with 15 Democratic members of the House to urge them to oppose the bill. He also spoke out publicly against it in a press conference:

"One thing that would shoot long-term interest rates through the roof would be getting rid of the firewalls. That would be totally counterproductive in the markets."

The bill, if passed, would have no impact on the federal deficit. It would simply eliminate the artificial walls separating foreign aid from defense from domestic discretionary spending programs--meaning that savings in any one area could be transferred to another or used for deficit reduction. Under no circumstances could total spending exceed the combined amount permitted under the three capped areas.

While the administration has adamantly opposed suing any defense savings for investment in American communities, it has made clear its support for using the same savings to pay for the President's proposed middle income tax cut.

Sen. David Durenberger (R-Minn.) put it succinctly in debate on the Senate floor last week when he said, speaking of the President's tax package:

"It will increase the deficit, despite the fact that its proponents claim it is paid for."

Thirty-seven Senators voted to waive the budge rules which prohibit consideration of federal tax cuts unless they are paid for, yet--almost to a person--each of the 37 claims to be concerned about the deficit as an excuse to oppose breaking the firewalls.

The vote in the House this week will give every municipal official an opportunity to see what their respective Representative's priorities are.
COPYRIGHT 1992 National League of Cities
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Shafroth, Frank
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Mar 16, 1992
Previous Article:Senate wrestles with tax bill, veto looms ahead.
Next Article:White House support sought for stormwater rule changes.

Related Articles
Congress returns to budget challenge: key leaders plan big changes to aid 'middle class.'
House puts firewalls vote on ice.
'Firewalls' debate on hold - again.
Soviets, S&Ls may see $49 billion bailout as cities brace for $6.7 billion in cuts.
Approps Panels Hold Transport Funding Steady.
Diet convenes 150-day regular session.
'The Independent' Wows Packed House at U.S. Comedy Arts Festival; Ben Stiller's Screen Appearance a Surprise for Film's Star, Jerry Stiller.
LDP draft election platform highlights Constitution revision.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters