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Proposed H.R. 1 budget cuts threaten many local programs


Congresswoman Maxine Waters and a coalition of organizations will hold a community meeting April 9 beginning at 11:30 a.m. at Jesse Owens Park, 9651 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles, to discuss the impact of the proposed federal cuts in House Resolution 1 (H.R.1).

H.R. 1 is legislation that authorizes funding of the government. However, because no budget was passed in the last Congress, and because Republicans in the House and Democrats in the Senate deadlocked over passage of the funding measure, the House passed it in mid-February. But the Senate rejected it in early March–a series of continuing resolutions (CRs) have been passed to keep the country operating.

But the Republican leadership has said no to additional CRs, and now legislators have until April 8 to come up with a compromise budget for H.R.1 or else the government will stop operating.

The House-approved version of H.R.1 seeks a total of $61 billion in budget cuts. So far, according to a spokesperson from Congresswoman Water’s office, Democrats have countered with an offer of about $30 billion in cuts.

If approved as initially passed, among the things H.R.1 would do is slice nearly $700 million (about 4 percent) off last year’s allocation to the Title I grants that go to schools. Title I is a program that serves nearly 1 million disadvantaged students and pays for teachers, tutors, and after-school programs. Democrats estimate these cuts could cost the jobs of about 10,000 teachers and aides in these schools.

H.R.1 also proposes cutting $1.1 billion (or 14 percent) from the 2010 allocation to Head Start. If this cut is kept as proposed, an estimated 218,000 low-income children would be eliminated from the program. This reduction would also cause the closure of more than 16,000 Head Start and Early Head Start classrooms and put more than 55,000 teachers out of jobs.

Others reductions included in H.R.1 are:
* Cutting the Community Development Block Grant program by more than 60 percent, from $4.45 billion to $1.5 billion–L.A. City received $78 million in CDBG funds in Fiscal Year 2010, while L.A. County received $32.2 million for the same time period. Block grants can be used to develop housing, stabilize neighborhoods hard hit by foreclosures, and for building public projects.

* Slicing more than $4 billion from job-training programs

* Cutting Social Security Administrations operating funds by $125 million below the level in fiscal year 2010

* Cutting juvenile justice grants by 45 percent ($191 million)

* Losing a $20-million grant to help build the Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail, as well as a $16-million grant for the port of Los Angeles

* Reducing the average amount for the Pell Grant recipients by about $675

Democrats and Republicans continue to negotiate to reach an agreement. Consequently, the final outcome on budget cuts is still up in the air.