White House to GOP: Increase user fees

Previewing upcoming fights on appropriations bills, the Clinton administration Tuesday criticized House GOP leaders for refusing to pass user fees that would help boost discretionary spending, while a key Republican appropriator said the House Interior funding bill will provide no money for the National Endowment for the Arts. Acting OMB Director Jacob Lew told House appropriators that user fees would help fund high priority programs.

"The only way to achieve the appropriate investment level is to offset discretionary spending by using savings in other areas," Lew said in a letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bob Livingston, R-La., concerning the fiscal 1999 Agriculture appropriations measure. Lew said the president's budget conforms to the balanced budget agreement, while providing investments through user fees and mandatory programs. Lew cited the recently completed surface transportation bill as an example of legislation where spending was increased through mandatory offsets.

"We want to work with the Congress on mutually agreeable mandatory and other offsets that could be used to increase high- priority discretionary programs, including those funded by this bill," Lew wrote.

But Livingston was not impressed with Lew's argument. He said many of the user fees included in the president's budget would not pass the Congress and many are not within the jurisdiction of the Appropriations Committee.

The Appropriations Committee Tuesday adopted revised 302B subcommittee allocations that would allow appropriations bills to come to the floor.

Livingston said he expects the House later this week to adopt a resolution that would allow those allocations to be used to bring the bills to the floor.

Normally, the allocations are made after a conference report on the budget resolution is adopted. "The conference on the budget resolution is nowhere in sight," Livingston said.

House Appropriations ranking member David Obey, D-Wis., called the process "awkward," saying there are great differences between the allocations that would be allowed under the budget resolution and those approved by the Appropriations Committee.

"There is no longer any budget process," Obey said. "We have 'adhocism' run amok."

The committee approved the allocations, which would make several changes to the preliminary allocations Livingston distributed in May.

The Commerce-Justice-State Appropriations Subcommittee gained $120 million in budget authority for non-defense programs and $160 million in outlays above the original allocations, while the Energy and Water panel gained $103 million in budget authority and $73 million in outlays.

The Interior Appropriations Subcommittee gained $20 million in budget authority and outlays and the Labor-HHS panel lost $500 million in budget authority, but gained $76 million in outlays. The Transportation subcommittee gained some $295 million in budget authority and $323 million in outlays.

Meanwhile, House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Ralph Regula, R-Ohio, said the Interior funding measure his panel will mark up today will not provide funds for the NEA, which he said is not authorized.

Regula said, however, that he will advocate allowing an amendment to be offered on the floor to allow funding for the program. "Then you get a clean vote," he said. "People are either for it or against it."

Arts advocates said they are not surprised by Regula's decision. "That happened to us last year," said Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the Congressional Members Organization for the Arts.

"That seems to be the ritual. We're ready for it. Once again, they won't have the votes to kill it," she said.

A Republican NEA supporter agreed. "The politics don't work well for Republicans to zero it out," said Rep. James Greenwood, R-Pa., adding that in recent years, Republicans pushed some reforms for the arts agency. "It is a much tighter system now," Greenwood said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.