House Committee Trims Clinton Budget Proposal

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The House Budget Committee last week approved a budget resolution that calls for about $400 million less in discretionary spending for education, job training, and social services than President Clinton proposed in his 1995 budget.

On a 26-to-17 party-line vote, the panel approved a blueprint that recommends $57 billion in spending for the category that includes those programs. It calls for $43.6 billion in discretionary spending and $13.4 billion for entitlements--programs under which all those who are eligible receive aid.

The President proposed almost $58 billion for that broad category of spending, including $44 billion for discretionary programs and $13.7 billion for entitlements.

"We would've liked to have at least met the President's numbers,'' said Susan Frost, the executive director for the Committee for Education Funding, a lobbying group. "But the real decisions will be made by the appropriators.''

It is hard to assess the budget resolution's impact, since it makes recommendations only for broad categories, and appropriators set spending for specific programs.

Congress and the President last year agreed on a five-year deficit-reduction package that essentially freezes domestic discretionary spending through fiscal 1998. Lawmakers said Mr. Clinton's proposed budget exceeds those spending caps by about $3 billion in outlays, or the money that would actually be spent in the fiscal year covered by the budget.

Suggested Cuts

To help meet the cap, the budget panel suggested that appropriators trim $100 million from Mr. Clinton's request for the drug-free-schools program, $100 million from his proposed national-service initiative, and $100 million from a category that includes education research and arts and humanities funding. They would also delay $100 million in Head Start payments until the next fiscal year, so they would not count as outlays in fiscal 1995, which begins Oct. 1.

Lawmakers recommended restoring several cuts Mr. Clinton had proposed, including $520 million for a program that helps poor people pay their heating bills. Since it is funded in the same appropriations bill as education programs, it will put pressure on appropriators to cut other sections of the bill.

The House is expected to vote on the resolution this week. The Senate Budget Committee is expected to take up its resolution next week.

Vol. 13, Issue 24

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