Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Watching the HSR Budget Line Item Disappear in the FY2011 Federal Budget

A long article I cut short.  Here is Reuters' view of the budget reductions to be voted on in Congress Thursday and Friday. The funds are for the remaining six months of FY 2011.  

After this, Washington watchers, the next major budget hurdles include the contentious raising of the debt ceiling so that the US can borrow more than the current $14 plus trillion dollars on the books now.  That will be followed by negotiations over the FY 2012 budget.

The most immediate action on the table is the cutting of $2.9 billion from high-speed rail from the current FY2011 budget. (I thought it was $1.5 billion, leaving $1 billion.)

Too soon to pop champagne corks however.

By the way, I find the comment in the first sentence in this article about cutting HSR, which Reuters says is "key to U.S. green energy goals," gratuitous.

It's wrong. It's biased. It's political. And, it's irrelevant.  So much for journalistic integrity from Reuters.
High-speed rail hit in US budget deal
11:57am EDT

April 12 (Reuters) - A massive spending-cut bill crafted by President Barack Obama and congressional leaders eliminates high-speed rail projects key to U.S. green energy goals, cuts border security efforts that Republicans said were already lagging and kills a controversial Pentagon jet fighter engine.

The legislation is expected to be put to a vote on Thursday in the House of Representatives and by Friday in the Senate.

If passed and sent to Obama to sign and enact into law, the measure would achieve $38 billion in overall spending cuts for the rest of this fiscal year, from 2010 levels. About $12 billion of those savings already have been enacted into law.

Some conservatives already are expressing opposition, saying the legislation falls short of what is needed to begin fixing an economy suffering from mounting debt and deficits.

Liberals say the bill focuses too narrowly on necessary domestic programs while letting unnecessary tax breaks for oil companies continue.

But so far, all signs point to passage in the House and Senate in a move to keep the government running through Sept. 30.

Following are details on the spending cuts and some spending increases, according to congressional committees.

Modest funding increases for the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, which are both working to implement the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory law.

The proposed spending bill raises funding for the SEC by $74 million from 2010 levels to $1.19 billion and funding for the CFTC by $34 million to $202.7 million.

A $12.3 billion, or 18 percent, cut for the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development as well as related agencies.
It eliminates $2.9 billion in funding for high-speed rail, reduces funding for transit services by $991 million and cuts $3.2 billion from the Highway Trust Fund's contract authority. The bill also reduces the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Fund by $942 million.


(Reporting by David Morgan and Richard Cowan; editing by Mohammad Zargham)
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