President Bush has sent a $2.57 trillion budget for ’06 to
Congress and how those numbers are being received is the hot news on Capitol
Hill this week. It is expected that Congress will spend months debating the
budget proposals, which seek to make deep cuts to domestic spending.
During the first U.S. Cabinet meeting of 2005, the president
mainly discussed the issue of the budget, calling it a “budget that sets
priorities.” He said those priorities were “winning the war on terror,
protecting our homeland, growing our economy.”
Bush described it as a “lean” budget that focuses on
“Taxpayers in America don’t want us spending their money on
something that’s not achieving results,” he said.
News sources report that the 2,428-page, 4-inch-high stack
of budget books sent to Congress on Feb. 7 did not include numbers on Iraq and
Social Security. Newsday reported that the administration said not
enough was known about future needs in Iraq or the ultimate shape of Bush’s
Social Security proposal to come up with realistic budget estimates.
What about transportation dollars?
The Transportation Department’s fiscal 2006 budget authority
would decline 3.3 percent to $58.8 billion under President Bush’s budget,
reports the Congressional Quarterly, but it includes support for a $284
billion, six-year surface transportation bill that some lawmakers and
transportation industry advocates say represents significant movement by the
Last year, the Bush administration offered up a $256 billion
six-year highway funding bill. Other lawmakers insisted the government needed
more to pay for highway construction, public transportation and road safety
programs. When the 108th Congress adjourned last year, no compromise had been
Notably, reports CQ, the administration for the first
time has publicly embraced a key part of the compromise, which calls for $284
billion in both budget authority and outlays. A bill based on those numbers is
expected to be introduced Wednesday in the House of Representatives by Rep. Don
Young, R-AK. Young is the chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure
Big transportation news resulting from the president’s
budget request includes cutting off funding for Amtrak and continuing to use
the Highway Trust Fund for funding more
of mass transit related programs and leaving less in the money pool overall for
highway specific programs. According to an article in Transportation Weekly,
the budget proposes total spending on Federal Transit Administration
programs of $7.781 billion in FY 2006. However, the Highway Trust Fund’s share
of that spending would increase – the budget proposes that the HTF pick up 87.7
percent of FTA spending next year, up from the traditional 80 percent.
– By Land Line and OOIDA staff