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Spending bills for FY94 advance toward fall passage.

As Congress prepares for the upcoming recess, both legislative bodies have made significant strides toward passage of departmental spending bills for fiscal year 1994.

With the exception of funding for Environmental Protection Agency programs and anti-crime legislation, the proposed spending bills show considerable increases for cities and towns from fiscal 1993 spending levels. Still, much of the funding falls short of the amounts President Clinton originally recommended in February. (See chart)

The following is a department by department account of relative action taken toward the passage of these appropriations bills:

Agriculture (H.R. 2493)

Smaller cities and towns received good news last week as the House and Senate conferees concluded a two-day debate over their competing versions of the Department of Agriculture appropriations bill. For the most part, program for rural America - especially rural waste and water disposal grants and rural housing - came out on top with a number of program allotments exceeding both the President Clinton's recommendations and the fiscal year 1993 levels.

The Conference tagged $500 million for rural water and waste disposal grants. While this is $36 million less than the Senate provided, it is $50 million more than the House version and $64 million more than the President's version. The new amount is $110 million more than was appropriated for fiscal year 1993.

Loans for Rural Housing were equally generous with the Conference awarding $1.561 billion to the programs. This amount is greater than both the House version ($1.539 billion) and Clinton's version ($1.531), but is slightly less than the Senate version (1.593). For fiscal year 1993, Rural Housing received only $1.421 billion.

Only for Rural Development loans was the final allotment less than that proposed by the House, Senate and President. While the Conference appropriated only $143.6 million for rural development, the House version (passed June 29, 1993) called for $200 million, the Senate version (passed July 27, 1993) called for $144 million, and Clinton's budget called for $219 million.

In addition, the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) saw a substantial increase from the fiscal year 1993 budget level of $2.86 billion. The conference agreed to provide the program with $3.21 billion - virtually the same amount as passed in both the House and the Senate, but less than President Clinton's budget proposal of $3.287.

Commerce, Justice and

State (H.R. 2519)

The fiscal year 1993 spending bill for the Departments of Commerce, Justice and State passed in the Senate Thursday July 29, 1993. A conference between the House and Senate to resolve differences between the two versions is pending.

Approved by a rollcall vote of 87 to 13, the bill contained no changes from the version passed in the full committee last week that will significantly affect cities.

The original Senate version gave $228 million to the Economic Development Agency assistance programs. Similar funding for new EDA grants was struck from the House version of the bill which passed July 20, 1993. The House did, however, set aside $26 million for EDA salaries and expenses.

The Senate also awarded $121 million to the Bureau of the Census for periodic census programs. The House failed to provide any funding for census research. It will be up to the forthcoming Conference Committee to reconcile these difference in the two versions.

The anti-crime legislation offered in the two spending bills, differs by $60 million. While the Senate tagged $431 million for the various Edward Byrne Memorial State and local law enforcement assistance programs, the House only awarded $371 million. Both of these numbers are below the President's proposal by $50 million in the Senate and $110 million in the House. For fiscal year 1993, anti-crime received only $473 million.

House Conferees are not expected to be officially named until after the recess, according to Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations subcommittee.

Treasury, Postal Service and General Government (H.R. 2403) Both the House and Senate have passed versions of the Treasury and Postal Service spending bill and await a Conference Committee to be held after the recess.

In the House bill, passed June 22, all funding was deleted for the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (ACIR). This funding was maintained in the Senate, however, when the Senate passed its version last week by a rollcall vote of 73 to 27.

The Senate version of the bill would provide $1 million to the ACIR - a decrease of $820 thousand from fiscal year 1993. It allotted these funds, however, with the understanding that the ACIR's performance would be carefully monitored throughout fiscal year 1994.

The Senate full appropriations committee said it expects to see "marked change" over the next year if the organization hopes to continue its function. The Committee recommended that the Commission develop a research agenda, cut its staff, and submit an organizational plan "outlining how it intends to meet its goals at this reduced funding level."

HUD, Independent Agencies

(H.R. 2491)

The spending bill for Housing and Urban Development and Independent Agencies which passed in the House June 29, 1993, brings mixed fortune to the cities. While HUD programs see significant increases in funding from fiscal year 1993, the House was not as generous with funding for EPA programs.

The House allowed for $4.224 billion for Community Development Block Grants, the same amount that Clinton proposed in his budget and 224 million more than was allotted for fiscal year 1993. While the Home Investment Partnership program (HOME) saw an increase from $25 million increase from 1993, the House awarded the program $35 million less than the President requested.

For the EPA, the House tagged $1.253 billion for the clean water state revolving fund and $5 million for local grants. The clean water state revolving fund was reduced by $647 million and local grants by $56 million. These amounts are slightly higher, however, than the Clinton budget set aside.

No money was awarded for drinking water in spite of the President's request that $250 million be provided. Labor, HHS, Education (H.R. 2518) Appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education were approved in the House June 30, 1993, providing $3.28 billion for the Head Start program. While the President had hoped for a larger allotment ($4.150 billion), the House version is still gives the program $504 million more than 1993 levels. The Senate has not yet taken any action on the bill.

Transportation (H.R. 2750)

The Department of Transportation spending bill for fiscal year 1994 was temporarily side-tracked in the House due to fiery disputes between Chairman of the House Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee Rep. Bob Carr (D-Mich.) and Chairman of the House Public Works Committee Rep. Norman Mineta (D-Calif.).

The so-called "turf battle" between the two chairmen reportedly arose over $305 million in grants towards 58 highway projects. Mineta claimed that 47 of the projects had not been authorized by the Public Works Committee, and that the other 11 projects were not authorized for the proposed amounts.

In response to the attack from Public Works, the Transportation subcommittee revised the original bill which passed by voice vote in the House full committee on July 29 with six rewritten sections. The rewrite, however, made few concessions to Public Works.

The revised version of the bill made no changes to the $4.47 billion proposed for mass transit or the $17.2 billion proposed for highway funding. The bill is not expected to reach the House floor until after the recess.
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Title Annotation:fiscal year 1994
Author:McCullough, Meredith
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Aug 16, 1993
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