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Posted at 9:19 PM ET, 02/11/2011

House Republicans propose deep cuts to District, Metro budgets

By Ben Pershing

House Republicans unveiled a spending resolution Friday night that would cut federal payments to the District by nearly $80 million and slash Metro funding by $150 million over the next eight months, as the GOP seeks to fulfill its campaign pledge to rein in government outlays.

The GOP's continuing resolution is designed to govern federal spending from the beginning of March, when the current CR expires, through the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. President Obama is expected to deliver his own budget blueprint for fiscal 2012 on Monday.

House Republicans' proposed cuts -- the full list of which can be found here -- would hit several different categories of District services. Compared with spending levels for 2010, the bill would reduce payments for D.C. courts by $25.5 million; school improvements by $15.4 million; the Water and Sewer Authority by $10 million; the forensics lab by $15 million; veterans' housing by $7 million; and programs for "disconnected youth" by $4 million.

Notably, the measure would not reduce funding for redeveloping the campus of St. Elizabeths Hospital for the creation of the new Department of Homeland Security headquarters, despite fears among some District observers that the project might be targeted.

But the GOP bill does take a significant swipe at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, cutting grants from the Federal Transit Administration by $150 million just as the agency is preparing to cope with a forthcoming budget gap of $72 million.

None of the Republican proposals are guaranteed to become law. The Democratic-controlled Senate and Obama must agree to any CR before it becomes law, or else there will be a government shutdown. While the Senate and White House are expected to accede to some budget cuts, there is no sign at this point that either will be inclined to accept the kinds of reductions to the District that the GOP wants.

By Ben Pershing  | February 11, 2011; 9:19 PM ET
Categories:  Ben Pershing, Budget, City Finances, Congressional Oversight  
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Comments

In the attempt to cut 80 mil from the DC bugdet, it's interesting the republicans (and I say that with a little "r", it saves on my eye strain) have found ways to cut money from transportation, housing and schools which are all areas the community depends on. However still found ways to start or bolster defense and energy programs where they can continue to funnel money to their lobbyist friends from Haliburton.

Posted by: Wayne_is_concerned | February 12, 2011 3:49 AM | Report abuse

The cuts the Republicans are making are purely an attack on anything they see as left of center. The formula of cutting 100% of the deficit from programs that amount to 15% of the budget is not going to work.

Posted by: stuckintraffictoo | February 12, 2011 4:13 AM | Report abuse

This would cut a great deal of jobs just when we need them the most. Cutting Veteran's housing? Really? The Metro helps people to get to the jobs that we really need right now. I am all for getting the debt down but my goodness. Can't we be reasonable and do this over time and not all at once like this. This is too extreme. But this is what America voted for. You wanted it, we got it.

Posted by: Princey | February 12, 2011 4:37 AM | Report abuse

This would cut a great deal of jobs just when we need them the most. Cutting Veteran's housing? Really? The Metro helps people to get to the jobs that we really need right now. I am all for getting the debt down but my goodness. Can't we be reasonable and do this over time and not all at once like this. This is too extreme. But this is what America voted for. You wanted it, we got it. Absolutely nothing!

Posted by: Princey | February 12, 2011 4:38 AM | Report abuse

I guess this means there will be no working escalators or elevators in the whole Metro system now.

Posted by: bigmac1810 | February 12, 2011 7:18 AM | Report abuse

When the District and the Metro have to radically cut services because of these budget cuts, I suggest they cut any and all related services to the Capitol Building and White House first. Cut court and forensic lab spending? Don't prosecute criminals who commit non-violent crimes on or near federal building grounds. Cut Water & Sewer Authority? Busted pipes in the Capitol don't get fixed and new pipes don't get run to replace aging infrastructure. Cut veterans housing? Don't prosecute homeless vets when they move into Federal buildings to live.c

In short, ensure that members of Congress feel the effects of the budget cuts personally with losses of services and perks they are accustomed to getting from the District and the Metro, which should cut all services to the Capitol, White House and other federal buildings.

Of course, we know that this budget is not going to pass Congress. The Republicans KNOW this budget is not going to pass the Senate. This is ALL FOR SHOW, and it is being paid for out of the taxpayers' pockets.

Someone should track how much time each Republican member of Congress wastes on a bill that has zero chance of making it into law, and publish that amount because that is money stolen right from the pockets of American taxpayers. They are NOT doing their jobs, they are wasting tax dollars by engaging in a political exercise which they hope will give them even more power in 2012. And when they start running for re-election, the numbers of hours they wasted on a bill that had zero chance of passing should be publicized everywhere, all through the campaign season so that voters understand how much money these yokels wasted without accomplishing a damned thing.

Posted by: windrider2 | February 12, 2011 7:37 AM | Report abuse

I've always thought the 'pubs were down on public transit. They want us to drive to work so we can burn more oil, have more congestion on the roads, and pollute more.

Posted by: tplakeup | February 12, 2011 7:37 AM | Report abuse

windrider2 just beat me to it.

Posted by: LukasWP | February 12, 2011 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Those who want further cuts should cut from their own district in their own state.

Posted by: newagent99 | February 12, 2011 7:55 AM | Report abuse

We're the GOP believing in more power to localities to decide their future, unless of course you live in D.C. Let Americans bite the bullet while we complain about starving on 95,000 raising our own salaries and wasting millions retrofitting their railway station so their perfect dos don't get mussed.

Posted by: jameschirico | February 12, 2011 8:11 AM | Report abuse

The GOP are anti-American. So are they going to accept the blood on their hands if their is a metro accident? Even in Communist China the government provides for transport in the Capital so people can get to work? What the heck is the matter with these morons. These phony idiots from country bunkin land need to get a grip of modern urban life and requirements and if they can't they should not be in Congress.

Posted by: paulnolan97 | February 12, 2011 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Those who want further cuts should cut from their own district in their own state.

Posted by: newagent99 | February 12, 2011 8:34 AM | Report abuse

If any of you truly believe that these funds go to fix the metro - you are so sadly mistaken. Look at the fatcat is the DC heirarchy - from the mayor down to the councilman.
The GOP is tired of funding these people and that is why they want to remove these district entitlements.
Let those that use the metro pay for the upkeep and then the riders will have more of a say of where their money is spent and will raise their voices to demand the metro is properly maintained.
Do any of you pay for the city transportation of Dallas or Denver or Atlanta? Then why should the American taxpayer fund the corrupt metro?

Posted by: LarryinMD | February 12, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Ok, if that's the way they want to do it, let's put tollbooths for all non-District residents on all the bridges and start enforcing a congestion charge zone a la London for all non-DC license plates.

DC taxpayers pay more than their fair share for all the services used by everyone in the metro area. If they want to de-fund metro out of existence, we should make it A LOT more expensive for these selfish, short-sighted politicians (and their staffs!) to get to work everyday.

Posted by: a202guy | February 12, 2011 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Every few years a gaggle of southern bigots ride into Washington, D.C. burning with hatred for federal government employees, hating District of Columbia residents, hating middle class African Americans, hating Hispanics and hating anyone who is not a white guy. These southern bigots don't do much when they get to the hill but issue threats, engage in bluster and try to sow fear over what they are going to cut and how they are are going to make the people's lives more difficult whom they hate.

Most of these pi$$ ant little southern bigots who come to the House of Representatives badly misjudge how much power they really have, and they mislead their bigoted base into believing that they are going to come to Washington to settle scores and engage in a crusade against all of the people and groups that that they and their bigoted base hates.

In the end, the phony penny-piching bigots have corporate funded golf trips to take, taxpayer funded junkets to go on, pretty lobbyists to bang and lobbyists' money to stuff their pockets with. Stinking little hate-filled Tea Bag bigots sowing fear and stuffing their pockets with corporate lobbyist money.

Posted by: DCSage | February 12, 2011 9:09 AM | Report abuse

RE: LarryinMD

"Do any of you pay for the city transportation of Dallas or Denver or Atlanta?"

YES! YES! YES! Yes we do! Are you kidding me? I don't think someone as ill-informed as yourself should be chiming in on the subject.

Ever heard of the Department of Transportation? Federal Highway Administration? Billions of dollars in Federal grants?

People like you are the ones who believe the government does nothing right and provides no services whatsoever. Then you vote for people who want to gut it and you are too ignorant to understand what gutting it will really mean to millions of people across the country, including yourself. But I'm sure you'll be out there protesting when your commute takes 3x as long because there are no highways to drive on...

Posted by: a202guy | February 12, 2011 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Yeah DCSage, it's the Tea Bag folks who are full of hate. Reread your post and then try and figure out who is full or rage, bigotry and hate. Look in the mirror, for your post shows it is YOU.

Posted by: ttttt1 | February 12, 2011 9:25 AM | Report abuse

a202guy wrote:
"Do any of you pay for the city transportation of Dallas or Denver or Atlanta?"

YES! YES! YES! Yes we do! Are you kidding me? I don't think someone as ill-informed as yourself should be chiming in on the subject.

Ever heard of the Department of Transportation? Federal Highway Administration? Billions of dollars in Federal grants?

************************

The question should be, "Is it Washington's job to have folks from Florida paying for a bus system in Dallas?" (you can substitute any state and/or city). People can differ on the answer to that as it depends on their POV and there is no right answer.

Our system of government was founded on the notion of restricted federal powers. We got away from that and now the states look to the federal government to give them whatever they can't or won't afford to do for themselves. Some folks are OK with this and others aren't. But the anger on the left that they somehow have the moral high ground and are so obviously correct is the most grating thing for those on the other side. The left wants to take the money of hard working citizens to spend on thousands of social engineering programs and expect them to sit down, shut up and like it. No thanks.

Posted by: ttttt1 | February 12, 2011 9:34 AM | Report abuse

To those complaining about the proposed budget cuts for District agencies and Metro, you need to face some facts. Simply put, the federal government can no longer afford to spend far more dollars than it takes in. Everyone is going to have to sacrifice.

Nor is raising taxes the answer. We're still in a period of high unemployment and high underemployment. Struggling taxpayers can't afford to continue feeding the federal gravy train.

There will undoubtedly be some budget cuts I don't like, but I'm going to have to learn to live with them just like you will. We can no longer afford business as usual.

Posted by: jjlc125 | February 12, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

So this is where the TeaBaggers want to take us. To a DC where the mall is covered with trash, personal safety is at an all times low, and the tourists that come from all parts of the US and world can't get around beause the metro goes out of business (bad as it is, its the only real mass tranist we've got).

Let's start by passing a law that delares that no state can receive more federal funds than it pays in -- and that includes defense contracts and military bases, social security (how would you like that Florida?), and subrating royalities on oil drilling and mineral rights (How would the Alaskans, who rate tops in taking fed dollars like that).

Time to bring a bit of reality to the hypocrits out in these little mid west and southern states that complain about fed dollars in DC but sure suck then up for their own states.

Posted by: Poleman | February 12, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Washington DC - Republican Junkyard

The Republican cuts to DC water/waste water programs and transportation are the height of ignorance, arrogrance, and selfishness.

The District of Columbia has been struggling to bring water and waste water infrastructure into full compliance with public safety and public health needs.

We all recall the flying manhole covers in Georgetown and the lead problems in DC area schools.
Perhaps the Republicans feel safe in that they can flee the District and return to the security of their faraway homes that are
not burdened with critical public health, safety, and transportation crises.

Washington, DC should be an exemplar of what is best about America, not a junkyard.

Posted by: P4Potomac | February 12, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Cute even MORE. The salaries and benefits by dc govt employees are out of control. Too many bureaucrats on boards and entrenched insiders earn 150,000 to 250,000. Start by eliminating all the useless oversight and tax boards. Fees and taxes keep rising, its out of control.

Posted by: espnfan | February 12, 2011 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Trash service on metro and dump on us poor slobs who depend on mass transit so the rich can get even bigger tax cuts so they can buy even bigger cars to drive on the roads that are going down the toilet.

Can't say the supporters of the Republicans and TeaBaggers don't have a vision--its just how far can you see with your head up your........

Posted by: Poleman | February 12, 2011 10:42 AM | Report abuse

The backlog of criminal trials will soon allow convicts freedom lacking due process, combined with police dept. cuts is a recipe for disaster. The whole GOP program is a disaster trying to prove Reaganomics, no regulation trickle down self regulating markets will work when time and again they fail.

Posted by: jameschirico | February 12, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Here's a great idea that I am surprised no one has brought up. Time to give DC it's independent status. Give them home rule. Let DC charge the federal govt tax on the property they occupy and let the federal govt cut all federal money for ANYTHING else.

It's a win/win. However, it does mean that the city must live within in it's means--it's tax base...which should be substantial considering the federal govt occupies soooo much in DC...of course, parks are exempt because the fed says so and possibly historical things like museums but still...it's what the people of the city always wanted.

oh, and give them the representative in Congress that votes too.

Posted by: mil1 | February 12, 2011 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Amidst all of the 'chest pounding' by the Tea party/GOP, perhaps it should be noted that one big reason for the money the Federal government 'gives' to DC, is to compensate for the lost tax revenue on all of the Federal property. So, it would probably be fair, to zero out Federal subsidies and have the Federal government pay property taxes on their extensive property holdings in DC.

Posted by: kinsman_bob | February 12, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Actually, LarryinMD, DC/MD/VA residents *do* pay for transit in Dallas, Atlanta and Denver. The difference is, Dallas, Atlant and Denver send their reps to DC where they benefit from WMATA. We don't get any direct benefit from the transit systems in Dallas, Atlanta or Denver. Also, DC residents don't get congressional representation.

Any reps voting to cut WMATA's budget should be required to immediately return any federal transit funding their states received. You know, since we're being all "budget conscious."

http://transportationblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2010/02/us-government-to-announce-tran.html
http://www.examiner.com/transportation-in-atlanta/federal-money-on-the-way-for-atlanta-transit-projects
http://www.rtd-fastracks.com/media/uploads/main/RTD_FasTracks-FTA_Event_Press_Release_0205.pdf

Posted by: jbs280 | February 12, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Where are the repubic budget cuts on corporate welfare? Why are the repubics cutting things that benefit the working class, but not cutting anything that benefits corporations? Corporations take up to 3% of our tax dollars.

Posted by: fmamstyle | February 12, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

ttttt1 wrote: Our system of government was founded on the notion of restricted federal powers. We got away from that and now the states look to the federal government to give them whatever they can't or won't afford to do for themselves.

===========================

Our system of government was founded to manage the day to day business of governing. It is a popular mantra by those on the right to say government has no business doing this, or doing that. It is an unfounded mantra, based on rush limbaugh and other right wing fanatics. Everyone participates in good government. Everyone benefits from a well maintained subway system. The federal government can and should do things for the states without the infringements the current mindset of right wingers are trying to impose. We all agree that roads and transportation are extremely important, but right wingers use the argument of "restricted power" even though they use the infrastructure, nay, demand it for their locations. It is pitiful how the right wingers love to pry into everyone's lives, yet talk about how patriotic they are. Pitiful.

Posted by: fmamstyle | February 12, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

First off, some people seem confused... The proposed cuts are not subsidies to the District of Columbia government; the Federal government hasn't made a direct operating payment to the city since 1996. These cuts are to programs that are either operated, controlled, or mandated by Congress, not D.C.

Second, and this is the more important point, many members of the GOP make clear that as the nation's capital, that Washington is special and for that reason Congress has the right to oversee and exercise control over the District and its residents. However, this sentiment never seems to translate into acknowledging that with that special status comes the responsibility to actually *pay* for it. Even if LarryinMD were correct in his assertions about the role the federal government plays in paying for local projects, the fact of the matter is that if D.C. is special then by logical extension Congress has an obligation to actually pony up the cash.

Posted by: alewis4 | February 13, 2011 12:31 AM | Report abuse

End this silliness and make DC a city in Maryland. Pick a timetable, give MD enough money for the transition and get on with it. Why representatives of other states .. most hundreds to thousands of miles away, should have any say in what goes on in DC is beyond me.

Posted by: tslats | February 13, 2011 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Regardless... I seriously doubt the dems are going to approve this... therefore, we are looking at a shut down at the end of the month.. which means I get a vacation.

Posted by: sctyofnothing | February 13, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

I think DC should cut snow removal, road repair and emergency services to and around the capitol, and Metro to cut services to Capitol South Metro.

Posted by: Mulch5 | February 14, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

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