House panel would cut Clinton requests for national service,

Tuesday, May 23rd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A House panel voted Tuesday to provide less money than President Clinton wants for housing, space, community
service and environmental programs, setting up another possible veto fight with President Clinton over spending.

The $101 billion measure, one of the largest of the 13 annual spending bills, was approved by voice vote by a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. The Senate has yet to write its own version of the measure, which is for the fiscal year starting next Oct. 1.

Subcommittee Chairman James Walsh, R-N.Y., said some of the cuts would be eased before the bill is enacted. These included its
elimination of the Americorps national service program, a Clinton initiative that Republicans try annually to cut, and its omission of any projects for lawmakers' home districts. Last year, such projects totaled about $800 million, aides said.

"This is just the first of many steps we will take in moving this bill forward," Walsh said, adding later, "The bill will have to have Americorps money in it to be signed by the president."

Even so, Rep. Alan Mollohan of West Virginia, top Democrat on the subcommittee, said the measure held spending for needed programs "hostage of outdated deficit politics."

And Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin, the committee's senior Democrat, predicted that Clinton would not sign it, saying, "It does nothing to meet the challenges this bill is supposed to meet."

Overall, the bill would provide $8 billion more than this year but $8 billion less than Clinton wants.

Spending would increase over this year's levels for veterans' health care, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, clean water funds for states, NASA and the National Science Foundation.

But besides eliminating the $353 million Americorps, the bill would reduce Clinton's requests for Environmental Protection Agency
operations by $200 million, or 10 percent; for assistance to low-income renters by $800 million, or 6 percent; and for aid to the homeless by $180 million, or 15 percent.

It would also ignore Clinton's request for a new $300 million NASA effort to study new space vehicles. House Majority Whip Tom
DeLay, R-Texas, inserted language saying the House might provide money for the program if any is available.

The measure would also impose a one-year delay on the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing rules limiting pollution entering streams from farms and other runoff, in effect
leaving the issue up to the next administration. The provision, proposed by members of both parties, is opposed by the White House.