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Concern About Potential Budget Cuts in Congress

On January 25, H.R 38 passed in the House, allowing official spending allocations to be curtailed at 2008 levels for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year. Appropriations and committee staffs will be expected to determine where cuts can be made, and those recommendations will be the foundation of a stopgap bill. If passed, that legislation will serve as the mechanism to fund the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year 2011. Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va, announced that a bill funding the federal government for the remainder of the year is expected to come to a vote in the House the week of February 14,         

NETWORK is gravely concerned about proposed cuts that may be included in this upcoming legislation. For example, the Community Development and Block Grant (CDBG) would be eliminated if Republican Study Committee suggestions are implemented.

CDBG, begun in 1974, provides low- and moderate-income urban and metropolitan communities with the funds necessary to address numerous development issues. CDBG funds have allowed police officers in Columbia, South Carolina to obtain low-interest mortgages in the communities in which they serve. As a result of community policing, crime rates have fallen while property values have increased. Outside San Antonio, Texas, CDBG funds have been utilized to rehabilitate homes, build ramps for disabled residents and supply homes with plumbing and heating. In Scranton, Pennsylvania, CDBG funds were utilized to secure financing for the Lackawanna garage project. This project will create low- and moderate-income jobs for the people of Scranton.

Additional suggestions from the Republican Study Committee’s Spending Reduction Act of 2011 include the repeal of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which would allow insurance companies to deny coverage for preexisting conditions once again, cancel insurance when one becomes ill, and deny insurance to children. These are among the bill’s benefits that are already in effect.

Recommendations of the Bowles-Simpson deficit commission (officially known as The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform), a bi-partisan deficit panel called for by President Obama, strongly emphasized that while reducing the deficit is crucial to the long run vitality of