The $79.1 million being spent on CETA in the Washington metropolitan area this fiscal year is almost certain to be slashed by Congress next month.
Neither house has finished action on a bill reauthorizing CETA for fiscal 1979, so the exact effect on the six area jurisdictions that run CETA programs cannot yet be calculated.
The reauthroization bill did come to the House floor last Wednesday. By a vote of 221-to-181, members cut $1 billion of $4.2 billion appropriation for CETA Title VI public service employment nationally.
After several hours of debate, during which three other amendments limiting CETA funding were passed, Democratic leaders pulled the whole bill off the floor in fear that it might be voted down. The bill is scheduled to be reconsidered after the August recess. It will then be sent to the Senate.
Assuming the $1 billion slash in Title VI public service funds remains in the version of the new CETA bill that Congress finally passes, the Washington metropolitan area would be affected as follows:
The District of Columbia would lose approximately $4.5 million in public service job funds, and approximately 675 positions.
The Maryland suburbs would lose approximately $2.3 million, and approximately 300 jobs.
The Virginia suburbs would lose approximately $1.5 million, and approximately 180 jobs.
Another House-passed amendment would force the entire area to limit the average annual salary of a Title VI jobholder to $7,000, rather than the $7,800 average now in effect. Still another amendment would limit the top CETA Title VI salary to $12,000 a year. That limit is currently $15,000.
Lobbyists familiar with CETA in the Washington area estimate that about 25 percent of those holding Title VI jobs would suffer salary cuts under the amendments.
If all Title VI amendments finally pass both houses of Congress, whole programs in the Washington area, as well as individual jobs, might vanish.
Another possibility is that Congress will not complete action on the CETA reauthorization bill before fiscal 1978 ends on Sept. 30.
Congress often keeps federal programs alive on a "continuing resoluting," which provides funds at the previous year's authorized rate. But there is no assurance that this would be the case with CETA, which Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.) last week dubbed "the second most unpopular program in the country after welfare."