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SENATE GOP BILL KEEPS BUFFALO JOBS ALIVE

A Senate Republican budget bill would protect allocations that help the poor keep their furnaces lighted, and preserves for one year the summer jobs program, one that employs 2,800 young people in the Buffalo area.

The Senate postponed until next week a floor vote on the budget committee bill, which rescinds, or repeals, $13.3 billion in already-appropriated funds for a variety of housing, transportation, defense and other programs.

Allan DeLisle, confidential aide to Mayor Masiello, said the Senate bill, while still very tough on cities, is "better balanced" than a similar bill passed by the House.

That legislation would take back $17.3 billion in 1995 funds, and concentrates almost exclusively on cutting into urban programs.

The harshest effect of both bills is on those who need subsidies to pay rent. The congressional budget bills propose the deepest one-year cuts in aid for housing in the nation's history.

The Senate legislation would continue Community Development Block Grants at current levels. Buffalo receives $22 million a year in block grants. The House-passed repealer would take back $1.76 million of that.

Here are some other differences:

The House version would savage federal operating aid to the Buffalo Municipal House Authority, and other housing agencies. The Housing Authority would lose $5.3 million this year under the House bill. The Senate measure
doesn't touch this form of aid.

The House budget measure would cut the Housing Authority's modernization aid by $7 million. The Senate version still reduces that, but at the lesser amount of $4.5 million.

The House would kill summer youth employment for both this year, and next. The Senate retains funding for 1995 but eliminates it for 1996.

The Buffalo Board of Education's 1995 share of Elementary and Secondary Education Act money would be cut 2 percent by the House, and 1 percent by the Senate.

The Senate version provides no relief however from impending losses in funding for the West Valley Demonstration Project, the cleanup of the nuclear-waste dump just south of Springville. The Senate cut for such projects is four times that proposed by the House.

The lead-based paint-removal program, in which the Housing Authority expected to share, would be cut $90 million this year by both bills.

The House would eliminate the $1.3 billion Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program for 1996. The Senate leaves it alone.

Those who need federal subsidies for rental payments will face bleak days no matter which version becomes law. The House bill would cut those subsidies by 51 percent, the Senate 41 percent.

If either of these cuts becomes law, public housing authorities will have to absorb the loss, some will be forced out of their homes, or the states and counties will be asked to make up the difference.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., tried to reverse all the proposed GOP repeals, but voting on the measure was stalled by partisan warfare over legislation giving tax breaks to self-employed persons and the $20 billion Mexican-bailout program.

Daschle said that if his amendment loses, Democrats will make other efforts to preserve social programs, jeopardizing GOP hopes of sending a compromise version of the legislation to President Clinton after next week.

The White House already has threatened to veto the $17 billion House-passed version, which makes even deeper cuts in housing, home-heating aid and other programs.

Senate Republicans see the measure as a first whack at their pledge to balance the budget by 2002. Many of them believe they would be political winners even if Clinton vetoes the measure. Such a veto would not come easy for the president, since it contains billions in aid for earthquake-rattled California, a key state for his 1996 re-election bid.

"If they don't want this . . . bill or anything in it, we can continue to have this turkey shoot-out here" with votes on numerous amendments, said Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan.

As the Senate debated its spending cuts, the total grew by $1.8 billion as lawmakers voted to kill about 90 federal buildings planned for 33 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands. The Senate bill would provide $1.9 billion immediately for disaster relief to California and other states, and $4.8 billion in the future. The House would provide $5.4 billion, all of it right away.

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