Lawmakers raid DOT CIO's budget to fund Amtrak

Transportation Department CIO Dan Matthews may not have a job if lawmakers sustain cuts that the House approved yesterday.

The House gutted the entire funding ' $11.9 million ' for salaries and expenses for the Transportation CIO's office in order to help keep the beleaguered Amtrak passenger rail system afloat another year.

Shrinking budgets are leading lawmakers to raid funds for one important mission to pay for another.

The House passed HR 3058, the Transportation, Treasury, Housing and Urban Development, judiciary, District of Columbia and independent agencies appropriations bill.

The Senate must still vote on its version of the bill. Afterward, the House and Senate must reconcile the differences between the bills.

Lawmakers voted for an amendment introduced by Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio) that would take funds from other programs to resuscitate Amtrak, which ended up with $1.2 billion. To fund Amtrak, his amendment also redirected $31.6 million out of a total $40.6 million from Transportation's R&D and systems development and $59 million out of the $150 million transition costs associated with OMB Circular A-76 flight service station competition.

Lawmakers also raided funds for HUD's Working Capital Fund, which supports departmentwide IT systems, to increase support for its Section 8 subsidized housing voucher program. House members voted to redirect $100 million to Section 8, leaving the Working Capital fund with just $45 million. House members then increased the Working Capital Fund by $22 million.

Prior to the House consideration, the Appropriations Committee had just about halved the Working Capital Fund, cutting $120 million from the administration request of $265 million.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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