Senate Republicans Wavering on Spending Cuts
by Patrick Lester, 6/27/2013
The first sign of division over GOP-backed spending cuts emerged June 27 as six Republicans on the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to support the Senate Democratic spending plan for transportation and housing programs.
The Senate bill provides $54 billion for these programs in the coming fiscal year, $10 billion more than the House GOP total. The House plan assumes that overall levels of spending will remain consistent with those established under sequestration, while the Senate spending levels assume that sequestration will be replaced or repealed.
The six Republicans who voted in favor of the Senate Democratic plan were Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS), John Hoeven (R-ND), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Mark Kirk (R-IL).
According to a report in The Hill, Collins criticized the House plan.
“Have members actually reviewed what is in the House transportation and housing bill as a result of the allocation they received?” Collins asked her GOP colleagues. “Are we to be just a rubber stamp for the bill?”
Collins noted that the House bill cuts nearly $1 billion from the Community Development Block Grant program, which she called one of the most popular federal programs. The Senate bill has $3.15 billion for the grants used by local communities, compared to $1.6 billion in the House.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has released a side-by-side comparison of the House and Senate bills showing their respective impacts on housing and community development programs.
The housing and transportation bill is just one of several that face severe cuts under the House spending levels. Comparisons of spending allocations (called "302(b) allocations") for each of the twelve spending bills are below.
House and Senate 302(b) Allocations (in $ millions)
|Subcommittee||2013 Enacted (Before Sequestration)||2014 Presidential Request||2014 House 302(b)s||2014 Senate 302(b)s|
|Commerce, Justice, Science||50,110||52,014||46,845||52,272|
|Energy and Water||36,735||34,483||30,426||34,773|
|Financial Services and Gen. Govt||21,415||23,756||16,966||23,031|
|Military Construction-Veterans Affairs||71,903||74,691||73,320||74,366|
|State, Foreign Ops||42,079||47,872||34,103||44,079|
|Subtotal Budget Authority (BA)||1,042,112||1,059,310||966,924||1,058,000|
|Designated Disaster Funds (mostly Homeland Sec)||5,626||5,785|
|Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO)||92,289||84,530|
|Total Budget Authority (BA)||1,064,839||1,149,568|