Government Groups in White House Stress Importance of Federal Domestic
By Dave Gatton
representing The Conference of Mayors joined representatives from the
National League of Cities and the Large Urban County Caucus of the
National Association of Counties on September 9th in the White House with
President Clinton's Chief Domestic Policy Team.
forth a united front that cuts in key domestic programs are opposed by
local government organizations, The Conference of Mayors delegation met as
the Clinton Administration prepared for budget negotiations between
Congress and the White House. The
Clinton Administration has issued veto threats on seven of the thirteen
appropriations bills that must be passed by Congress by September 30th in
order for the Federal government to remain open.
As USMAYOR went to press, President Clinton said he will deliver
his long-promised veto of a $792 billion Republican tax cut bill sent to
the White House recently.
these budget issues on center stage, Mayors Sharon Sayles Belton of
Minneapolis, Scott King of Gary and Paul Helmke of Fort Wayne went to the
White House to stress various aspects of potential harm to cities if
proposed cuts in the Federal appropriations and budget process are
sustained this fall. Mayor
Belton told the White House Chief of Staff John Podesta and other aides
that full funding of the budget for the Department of Housing and Urban
Development was paramount and that key HUD programs, such as CDBG, HOME,
Hope 6 and housing vouchers must be included in any final budget deal with
Mayor Scott King called on the Administration to remain strong in its
commitment to fund a second round of Empowerment Zones and Enterprise
Communities. He also
encouraged the Administration to support Rep. Bud Shuster's (PA) Air-21
Aviation Reauthorization package, on the grounds that airport development
is critical to handle increased air traffic and essential to national
Sperling, head of the President's National Economic Council, briefed the
mayors on the devastating effect of the $792 billion proposed
Congressional tax cutbacks. He
estimated that if the tax proposal becomes law, domestic spending could be
slashed 40 percent to 50 percent in many key budget categories such as
Education, Community Development, and the environment.
Mayor Dennis Archer representing the National League of Cities in the
meeting, called on local governments to strongly oppose the tax cut
measure and to support President Clinton's veto of the measure.
Belton also encouraged the Administration to support efforts in Congress
to fund the Urban Parks Program, saying that revitalized and expanded
urban parks and recreation programs served to prevent juvenile crime and
enhanced the lives of children. Mayor
Belton also stressed the importance of other critical programs for cities
including the Department of Justice's COPS Program, Welfare-to-Work
Programs of the Department of Labor and federally-funded after-school
programs for youth.
Curry, of Prince Georges County, representing the Large Urban County
Caucus of the National Association of Counties, urged the Administration
not to undercut local government ability to collect state and local taxes
through commerce over the Internet.
told the mayors that he remained hopeful that the Congress and the
Administration would reach agreement on many of the Administration's
priorities, including the New Markets initiative proposed by the
Administration to bring more private investments to America's communities.