Similar to last year, there are significant differences between the proposals, with the House once again being the more conservative on spending.
The Senate bills, like President Obama, assume that there will be an agreement to raise the $967 billion spending cap required by the Budget Control Act. The Senate Appropriations Committee on June 20 approved spending allocations that reflects a $1.058 trillion cap. The House bills comply with the lower $967 billion spending cap, but ignore the suballocation cap requirements ($498 billion for defense and $469 for non-defense).
The text of the Senate appropriations bills is not available at the time this article was produced. On the House side, however, the League understands that the initial proposal includes cuts to programs important to cities. Proposed funding levels for city programs include:
CDBG: $1.6 billion in funding (currently $3.08 billion);
HOME: $700 million (currently $950 million);
TIGER: Eliminates all funding (currently $474 million);
HUD Choice Neighborhoods: Eliminates all funding, and rescinds $120 million in previous grants; and
Partnership for Sustainable Communities: Eliminates all funding (third year with no funding), and specifically excludes funding for green, sustainable, or livable communities initiative.
The House transportation proposal includes funding for the Federal Highway System at MAP-21 levels but any transportation funds outside the highway trust fund are vulnerable. The House proposes cuts to the FAA, Amtrak, rail, and transit (New Starts Program). High-Speed Rail funding would be expressly prohibited.
Funding for COPS and Byrne/JAG will be included in the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies bill which has not been released.
If Congress acts on schedule, all 12 spending bills will be approved by Oct. 1.
Representatives Return Home Next Week
Although the League is waiting on the remainder of the House Appropriations bills before issuing an official letters, city officials are encouraged to contact their Congressional Representatives next week while that are in their districts for the Independence Day Recess. It is especially important to communicate with members of the House on how these continued cuts are going to harm your city and communities.