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House GOP unveils bill slashing highway grants

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 6, 2014 at 2:28 pm •  Published: May 6, 2014
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It maintains a $149 million appropriation for a program that subsidizes air fares to rural airports. Amtrak capital grants would be cut by $200 million and employees of the passenger railroad would generally be limited to $35,000 a year in overtime.

The measure is part of the approximately $1 trillion portion of the federal budget that passes through Congress each year. The 2015 round of spending bills are essentially capped at current levels. But there's actually less than that because of a $4 billion difference of opinion between the Congressional Budget Office and the White House's Office of Management and Budget over how much revenue the government will reap next year from Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance premiums.

This arcane dispute means that the transportation and housing measure faces a $1.8 billion cut in real terms, even though it appropriates $1.2 billion above current levels. That's a major reason driving the cuts to TIGER grants, which are likely to be reversed in end-game negotiations with the Senate and White House.

A program that helps local governments build or rehabilitate housing units for the poor — often in partnership with nonprofit groups — would face a $300 million cut from its current budget of $1 billion.

A House Appropriations subcommittee is slated to approve the measure on Wednesday, and it faces a floor debate later this month.