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Mr. FORD. Don't you think a guarantee of $63 million is a little better, a bird in the hand, than the possibility of one and a half in the bush? Mr. HUSK. I think what we are looking for is the clauses that come beneath the guarantee, the kind of analysis that staff can provide to you or to us to clarify the point that the Perkins amendment would not jeopardize the status of
Mr. FORD. Sam, I am not trying to pick on you. But you are not being consistent because you are saying that you are fearful that if the Perkins amendment-which would not only preserve the action of the formula with respect to public housing but also act as a legislative guarantee that they be the first to get the money, the first $63 million, regardless of the size of the ultimate impact appropriation-you are fearful that because of the past indications of support in the House for public housing funds in impact you might lose that.
But you don't seem to be fearful that you lose it without the Perkins bill. And the parliamentary situation is exactly the same in either case. The Appropriations Committee would have to legislate on an appropriations bill, and if they do they would then have to get a rules approval waiving points of order because if they don't get that approval any one Member would make the point of order and surely there are plenty who would make it.
That is why I find your position kind of inconsistent because it looks to me like if you are in the kind of trouble you justifiably think you are in in the big cities on funding of public housing, it doesn't seem to me that your position is improved by maintaining the status quo.
Mr. HUSK. That may be true. But I still don't hear from the committee
Mr. FORD. Wouldn't you generate a substantial amount of support for your $63 million earmarking out of people who have to support you in order to guarantee their own money?
In other words the only way that they can save the category B money that the school districts are about to lose for at least 1 year would be to support a piece of legislation that gives you the $63 million off the top. You wouldn't be fighting the battle alone.
Mr. Husk. It is not that we are talking to that question as much as whether this amendment really will be casting the public housing in the same kind of light as we thought was accomplished by the amendments of 1974, which were to include the public housing as an integral part.
The way of finding out the public housing students may be different. But once they are determined they are the same as any child who is eligible as a so-called B child in the formula.
What happens to you when you come to this particular amendment is that the Perkins amendment-you single out the public housing again as something on the top. You make it a focus of the Appropriations Committee consideration. You raise the whole spectre of "here we are getting into a whole new program which is going to raise substantial amounts of money and we can't do that in this deficit kind of picture we have." You have all of the arguments starting to mushroom which have mushroomed up in the past and have led to non funding of a project.
What I am asking is, do we have the kind of backup in explanation of the Perkins amendment which gives us a legislative assurance that this type of separating out could not occur which strengthens the point of
order situation with regard to Perkins if it were to become the legislation for the next year?
Mr. FORD. It never has been the legislative intent to give public housing funding a special status that the Perkins bill would give it..
It seems to me that while someone might disagree with whether $63 million is adequate, because we don't know, $63 million is the figure that is arrived at by attempting to approximate what would happen if you funded the program through tier II, how much money would be distributed under the existing formula for public housing. Some people say 63. Some say more. Some say less.
Wouldn't we be better served if we tried to determine more accurately what that figure was and amend this bill to make sure that that figure correctly reflected that than to oppose the bill and take a chanceon what is facing us in trying to fund this program?
Mr. Husk. I am not saying that even those cities which are very much interested in the public housing aspects of the bill are opposed to the Perkins amendment. In fact we had a meeting yesterday on this. I didn't find that they were opposed to the amendment. But they were concerned about the amendment. They were concerned especially about the separating out of elements of it.
So if that part of the bill could be clarified and if there could besome strong arguments and explanations made that this indeed would not put the public housing in the position of being separated out once again and subject to appropriations reduction, this would go a long way I think in helping school districts to join San Diego and Long Beach where there is very little public housing, help those cities to appreciate somewhat differently the position of the other districts.
As we understand it in the reform legislation the 25 percent first tier funding for public housing, even there the position of the appropriations people is that it is a mandatory appropriation which only they can effect.
Mr. FORD. Are you aware that the subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee has already voted out the appropriations bill which has legislation on it subject to a point of order unless the Rules Committee waives it, knocking out all the money for public housing? Mr. Husk. I am aware of that, yes.
Mr. FORD. You have been at this a good many years. When is the last time you saw the full Appropriations Committee reverse the subcommittee on an increase in funding?
Mr. Husk. I haven't seen them ever reverse the subcommittee. Mr. FORD. Don't you think you are already in a pretty tough spot? Mr. Husk. Yes, sure, we are in a tough spot. But we have been in tough spots before, too.
Mr. FORD. How many votes do you think you are going to get from people who are supporting the President's budget?
Mr. Husk. From the people supporting the President's budget? Mr. FORD. If you read the budget message they are going to send a piece of legislation up here with a 5-percent figure that is going to wipe out every one of your members except one.
Mr. Husk. It may even wipe them out.
Mr. FORD. I thought San Diego got money no matter what you did. Dr. FISH. We get a very small amount of that.
Mr. FORD. Isn't it correct that the 5-percent figure knocks out every other member in the Great Cities organization?
Mr. Husk. I think San Diego would only be there barely, a couple of hundred thousand dollars. That amendment suggested by the President is completely-I think they have a right to state their position but I think it is clear that they ought to be implementing the law that is passed by the Congress.
How many members of Congress would support the public housing provision? I think as you indicated there is a need for having people from both the large cities and those representing the impacted areas school districts such as described here for them to be coalesced in an effort to really perfect both programs and both aspects of the program. I am not denying that they have a very strong case, where for some school districts 25 percent or so of the operating budget would be eliminated because of reforms in the legislation.
Mr. FORD. If the Appropriations Committee adopts the recommendation of their subcommittee and the Rules Committee grants a rule waiving points of order, where do you get the constituency in the House to amend that out of the appropriations bill if you go it alone? Mr. Husk. I think the constituency is already building for an increased amount of appropriations for the impact aid provision.
We have evidence out in the hustings, so to speak, that there is evidence of a coalition of the impact aid people and the large city school districts and many, many other organizations who stand behind a substantial increase in legislation regardless of which formula it comes up in.
I would point out that we have a problem with our congressional delegation because as you know after you spent an evening, 2 in the morning, there was some effort to place the bill back into conference for reconsideration of these items.
Regardless of the position our cities may eventually reach and the other school people, they may have quite a bit of problem convincing their delegation of the wisdom of separating out or delaying amendments here since at one point the congressional representatives voted 80 to 20 against an amendment to recommit it to conference based solely on the appeal to this particular provision and this particular change.
Mr. FORD. I have to correct you. I participated very actively in that effort. It was not to change anything with respect to public housing. It was because every major city in the country was clobbered with the title I formula. We now know what that is costing the big-city school systems. That was the primary concern.
There were some big-city Congressmen who were confused and they traded a rabbit for a horse, thinking that they should support the conference report and get the public housing money, which is still very tenuous, and they throw out millions of dollars in title I funds as the price for it.
I think if the new Congress ever gets title I opened up again we might write a new formula. But that is behind us. We aren't attempting to do that.
The attempt to send the bill back to conference revolved around the title I formula, not the impact formula. Not that part of the impact formula, I might say.
Mr. Husk. There were concerns about other aspects of the formula, I am sure, that certain Congressmen wanted to have reconsidered in the conference. But I am saying that the vote, as you indicated, regardless of the perceptions of those particular Congressmen, still indicated I think that unless those Congressmen have a very clear picture that the public housing is an integral part of the impact aid program and not in a position where it is going to be separated out by the legislation itself, that there may be a reluctance to support the impact aid provisions in the Perkins bill, let us say, to the extent that might be desirable.
Mr. FORD. Did you ever count the big-city votes for impact aid?
Mr. Husk. Yes. I think by and large our cities have up until a year ago voted very much in favor of impact aid in spite of the fact that many of the cities did not receive substantial amounts of money for that.
I can think of cities like New York City and Cleveland, Philadelphia, and others of the eastern cities which have voted time and time again with the impact
Mr. FORD. Only since O'Hara devised the method of packaging impact aid with title I. That caused impact aid people who had formerly voted against title I to vote for title I to get their impact funds. And it worked the other way, too.
Mr. HUSK. There are still some who in spite of packaging still would feel strongly opposed to the impact and vote against it. I am not saying that there aren't some of them. But basically it has been around 80 percent in favor of a provision which included impact and about 20 percent against.
I did see some single votes recently. I will give you one of the clearest indications of the support of impact. I believe it was a floor amendment. Clarify me if I am wrong. I believe it was a floor amendment by Mrs. Mink last year to take the impact which was going up as a 1-year extension of the law to make it the same length as the rest of the provisions of impact and our cities voted 80-20 for that amendment where they could have done their singular act and voted against it.
Remember that that provision that they were voting on was not what we are talking about now. It was the existing law.
Mr. FORD. If Mrs. Mink's amendment hadn't passed we wouldn't be here today because the program wouldn't be quietly ending. Dr. FISH. Not "quietly."
Mr. FORD. Mr. Goodling?
Mr. GOODLING. Mr. Husk. I will repeat what I think you are saying. You correct me if I am wrong. You were saying that since you have been waiting since 1968 for something that you now see the possibility of getting 25 percent now of your entitlement for the first time off the first tier, and you are weighing that against a proposal that you are not exactly sure what it is going to do. But it will be hanging out on a limb where it will be easier to prune. Is that correct?
You see the 25 percent for the first time since 1968 as a good possibility and you just don't understand about $63 million.
Mr. Husk. I think our concern is with the first point you made rather than with that level; $63 million, we feel that probably is a fairly fair figure, given the estimates that people are receiving.
Mr. GOODLING. In other words you would rather have 25 percent than nothing. And you are afraid that the amendment may give you nothing.
Mr. Husk. We are afraid that might be an outcome if the amendment is not carefully explained and carefully constructed so that it would state that that would not be what would happen.
Mr. GOODLING. Then I would ask my Chairman a question. If, as I mentioned, this concern seems to be that since 1968 they got nothing and now they see a possible chance of getting 25 percent, what is the argument? That they may not get that 25 percent?
Mr. FORD. They are fearful that the Appropriation Committee would attempt to legislate to knock out the $63 millioin.
Mr. GOODLING. How about the 25 percent that they are guaranteed now under the existing law?
Mr. FORD. The $63 million is in lieu of that.
Mr. GOODLING. My question is, is there very much chance-as I understand Mr. Husk's problem he sees this 25 percent as something that finally since 1968 they might get their hands on and he is not very sure about that $63 million-that they would not get the 25 percent in the existing law? How would that come about?
Mr. FORD. The Labor-HEW Subcommittee of Appropriations has already voted out an appropriations bill with the recommendation to the full committee that the money for impact for public housing be amended.
If the Appropriations Committee accepts that and the Rules Committee gives them a rule waiving points of order then the only way that you could get back the 25 percent would be to amend the appropriation bill on the floor to knock out that provision.
It is a matter of judgment as to whether or not at that point you could get a sufficient constituency to support that. It leaves the big cities at that point all by themselves.
The other way around everybody who wants the funding at least at last year's level it would be an increased amount. Then in the hustings they can't get the money unless they get the $63 million; $63 million is not matching. It is simply the best estimate we have at this point of what it would take to equal what you would get with the 25 percent.
Mr. GOODLING. If the Appropriations Committee turned down the 25 percent is there any assurance then that if we start picking pieces out of the bill, that the next 25 percent and the next 25 percent would be knocked off also?
Mr. FORD. That is possible. But it has not happened. The track record is very clear. And the makeup of the committee hasn't changed that much. The Appropriations Committee has never believed in funding public housing funds. That is why we tried to change the law to put them in the position where they had to fund it because they theoretically cannot legislate on an appropriations bill. But it happens around here rather frequently that they do legislate on appropriations bills because of the Rules Committee giving them special rules.
I have reason to believe that the present makeup of the Rules. Committee coupled with the strong feelings of the Speaker with regard to this program might militate against such a rule coming out.