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Senate unit shifts $500 million from cities to Pentagon.

The Senate Appropriations Committee last week voted to combine a House-passed Somalia relief bill, HR 2118, with the House-passed cities' jobs bill, HR 2244, giving the Pentagon $1.2 billion in funds it did not request, but stripping nearly $500 million in jobs funds for cities and towns in White House had sought.

The committee voted to cut $500 million in already appropriate funds for severely distressed cities and towns and to cut already-approved asset forfeiture funds to help pay for some of the Pentagon funding.

The full Senate expects to act on the combined bill, HR 2118, early this week, perhaps paving the way for sending summer jobs funding and funds to hire or rehire police to cities and towns. Sen. Don Nickles (R-Okla.) indicated last week he would consider offering an amendment on the Senate floor to strike all funding for hiring local police.

The committee voted 26-1 to spend the funds to pay for relief operations in Somalia and Iraq--funds the Pentagon said it could reprogram from existing monies rather than increasing the federal deficit--and to add an even more pared down jobs or stimulus bill.

For cities, the key funds would be $200 million in additional summer jobs assistance and $200 million of hiring local police and for community policing. The bill, referred to as the grandson of stimulus, retains the administration and House proposal to provide a combination of $70 million in grants and loans for rural water and waste projects.

No member of the committee expressed any opposition to Chairman Robert Byrd's (D-W.V.) proposal to cut the summer jobs funding from $320 k million down to $200 million, nor the proposal to strike all $290 million of the House-passed funding for compliance with federal Clean Water mandates. The House passed $1.8 billion for the foreign aid supplemental spending bill and $931 million for the so-called "son of stimulus" bill.

Unlike the earlier $16.1 billion stimulus bill which passed the House and died in the Senate, this bill would result in a net reduction in investment in cities and towns. To pay for the new spending, the bill includes rescissions or cuts from already approved spending , including $500 million Congress appropriated last year for enterprise grants to cities and towns designated as enterprise and empowerment zones.

Different Police Funds

The Senate committee rejected the House approach on local police funding the instead adopted the approach sought by the Justice Department. Unlike the House approach which would require a local match and be allocated to state by formula, the Senate alternative would provide for discretionary grants. 75 percent of the funds would be targeted for grants to cover pay and benefits, excluding overtime, for the hire or rehire of low enforcement officers for deployment in community-oriented policing activities.

The remainder would be directed towards improvement of police-community partnerships, including: specialized training to help resolve community problems, multidisciplinary as well as multijurisdictional teams of police, public health, probation services, social services, education, and other disciplines to address the prevention of crime in communities and to work with youth to prevent time. The committee directed the Attorney General, in allocating any new funds, to make sure they go to all sizes of cities in all parts of the nation.

Summer Job Money

The committee voted to provide $200 million in additional funding for summer jobs for youths between the ages of 14 and 21, $120 million less than passed by the House. The funding would be allocated under the existing formula.

To help pay for the overall bill, the committee voted to rescind or cut $500 million in funding appropriated under Public Law 102-368 last year for the Community Investment Program. Those funds, to be used in conjunction with the President's new enterprise and empowerment zone proposal were to be used for flexible block grants to severely distressed cities and towns.
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Title Annotation:includes related information on the stimulus plan; Committee on Appropriations
Author:Shafroth, Frank
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Jun 14, 1993
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