THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION: FIGHTING FOR A FISCALLY SOUND BUDGET
“The fact of the matter is that Congress is considering a budget that severely underfunds critical programs. The Appropriations Committees are now implementing an untenable budget resolution which is a blueprint for chaos.”
Jacob J. Lew Director, Office of Management and Budget May 26, 1999
During the past week, Congress has been deliberating decisions that will affect funding for key programs and determine how the budget will be allocated. In January, President Clinton proposed a plan that would safeguard Social Security and Medicare, reduce the national debt, and invest in programs that are important to American families. The House budget proposal in its present form does nothing to protect the solvency of Social Security and Medicare; calls for using nearly the entire non-Social Security surplus for a tax cut; and slashes funding for critical programs.
House Budget Slashes Key Programs. Assuming across-the-board cuts, the following programs could be affected:
Education and Training
The Reading Excellence Program which helps children learn to read by the 3rd grade could be cut by $47 million, and could serve 93,000 fewer students;
The 21st Century Community Learning Centers could be cut by $36 million, denying after school and summer school programs to more than 85,000 students;
Over 100,000 summer jobs and training opportunities could be eliminated for low-income young people; and
Between 50,000-85,000 low-income children could lose access to Head Start compared to FY99, and close to 100,000 low-income children could be denied the benefits of this program from the level proposed for FY 2000.
Environment and Health Safety
Cuts to Health Resources and Services Administration’s health services for women, children, the uninsured, and people with AIDS could mean as many as 5.3 million fewer people receiving needed health care services from the FY99 enacted level, and 6.2 million fewer people than the FY 2000 request; and
Funding could be eliminated for the clean-up of 15 fewer Superfund toxic waste sites than the FY99 level -- needlessly jeopardizing the health of citizens living near affected sites.
Crime, Housing, and Other Priorities
Rental assistance under the Home Block Grant Program could be cut by $144 million, denying tenant-based assistance to over 2,100 families compared to FY99. In addition, funds could be lost for new construction, rehabilitation, or acquisition of over 15,000 affordable housing units;
The Federal Bureau of Investigation budget could be cut by over $300 million from the FY99 enacted level (outside the Violent Crime Reduction Trust Fund), a reduction of over 2,700 FBI agents below the FY99 enacted level. The FY 2000 request level could be cut by over $600 million and over 5,000 agents;
The Immigration and Naturalization Service could be cut by $144 million from the FY99 enacted level (outside the Violent Crime Reduction Trust Fund) for border enforcement. This could result in a reduction of approximately 1,300 Border Patrol agents. From the FY 2000 request, this could mean a cut of $378 million and 3,500 agents; and
The National Park Service operating budget could be cut by $240 million below FY99. Most seasonal workers could not be hired, resulting in widespread cutbacks in visitor services, seasonal programs, and hours of operation at 378 park units serving almost 300 million visitors annually.