The Devil is in the Details

March 28, 2011 | By Guest Contributor | Post a Comment

(This guest post was written by Erika Fitzpatrick) In its fitful approach to funding the federal government through the second half of FY 2011 — and avoiding a government shutdown — Congress has passed a number of continuing resolutions that, for the most part, temporarily extended program funding at fiscal year 2010 levels as lawmakers worked out plans for the remaining months of the fiscal year.

But in the back-and-forth over federal spending and incremental cuts, it can be hard to keep the specifics straight. The two most recent CRs have cut a total of $10 billion from the discretionary part of the federal budget. The CR that expired on March 4 cut $4 billion in part by eliminating several programs, including Election Assistance grants, the Broadband Direct Loan Subsidy, the Smithsonian Institution Legacy Fund, Striving Readers, the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership program, Even Start and Smaller Learning Communities. It also cut a one-time addition in highway funds.

The CR that followed, which was enacted March 17 and expires next week, included billions of dollars in additional program cuts and terminations, including:

  • $225 million elimination of the Department of Labor’s Community Service Employment for Older Americans program;
  • $144 million in cuts to single family housing loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Agriculture;
  • $125 million reduction in the Department of Labor’s Career Pathways Innovation Fund;
  • $75 million termination of State Health Access grants, a Department of Health and Human Services program funding 13 states in their efforts to expand health insurance options;
  • $19 million in cuts in Public Telecommunications Facilities and Construction, which funded the now-completed conversion of public television stations to digital broadcasting;
  • $17.5 million in cuts to Brownfields Redevelopment, a Department of Housing and Urban Development program;
  • $14.8 million reduction in Save America’s Treasures, a National Park Service program to protect the country’s nationally significant artifacts and structures;
  • $10 million elimination for each of two Environmental Protection Agency programs, the Targeted Airshed grant program for diesel retrofits that reduce pollution and the Local Government Climate Change program; and
  • $4.6 million in cuts to Preserve America, an NPS program to promote heritage tourism.

Amidst all the hoopla over party strategizing and priorities, it’s easy to lose sight of the specifics, but many programs are facing very real and painful decisions as this money goes away.

Local/State Funding Report subscribers can read more analysis of the cuts already enacted in the CRs in the April 4 issue.



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