President Carter will try again this year to get Congress to pass a program of Extra fiscal aid for cities with high unemployment rates, a White House official announced yesterday.
Presidential press secretary Jody Powell said Carter plans to resubmit a cut-down version of the aid bill that was a key part of his urban package last year. The new program would be aimed at "the most distressed local governments," Powell said.
One part of the new measure would total $400 million -- $250 million in supplemental funds for the current budget year and $150 million in fiscal 1980 -- and would go to cities with jobless rates of at least 7 percent, an administration source said.
Fewer than 300 cities would be eligible for the aid, he said. They would include Cleveland, New York, Newark and Detroit, which have been hard hit by the loss of aid under an antirecession program that recently expired.
The second part of the measure would send additional aid -- up to $500 million -- to localities if the national jobless rate exceeded 6.5 percent, Powell said. It is now 5.8 percent.
Currently, administration economists are saying the national rate will not rise above 6.2 percent this year.
Powell said no money is being provided in the 1980 budget for the second part of the program, but that if funds are needed, the administration will request them in a supplemental.
Lasy year Congress let a similar antirecession program, which had started in 1976, expire and refused to pass a measure that Carter had proposed to take its place.Under the old program states and localities received $1.3 billion in the last year.
Carter sought a program costing $1 billion for each of two years. It would have aided 18,000 localities but no states.
The Senate, complaining that the president's bill was not stfficiently focused on ailing communities, passed a measure that would have provided $485 million the first year and $360 million the second year, and it included some aid to states.
That measure, which would have aided about 12,000 communities, died in the House the day Congress adjourned, largely because of the opposition of Rep. Jack Brooks (D-Tex.), chairman of the House Government Operations Committee.
"Brooks still hates the program," one White House source said. "I'm nervous about its chances."
The aide said, however, that mayors, governors and civil rights leaders had insisted in meetings with the president and White House officials last month that their greatest needs were fiscal aid and the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act program, which provides public service jobs.
"We were surprised that they were so strong for the aid program," the source said.
Another official commented, "The politics of this legislation has never been easy. But the president feels there is a great need for it."
Besides fiscal aid, three other measures in Carter's urban package last year died in Congress. One would have created a program of public works maintenance jobs such as repairing city hall; another would have given the states incentives to help their depressed cities, and the third would have set up a national development bank.
Administration sources said no decision has been reached on whether any of the three should be resurrected. But the current thinking is that the state incentives and the maintenance job program should be dropped.
"In meeting with the interest groups, it was clear these measures had no priority status," said one source.
The development bank, which would grant funds and guarantee loans for businesses willing to locate in depressed areas, is still a question mark. The president's budget for fiscal 1980, which starts Oct. 1, requests $195 million in outlays, which is all the bank would be expected to spend in its first year.
The issue of whether to press again for the bank turns on whether Carter decides to propose a reorganization that would trim the Commerce Department and expand the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
If he decides to psuh for an expanded HUD, he might propose the bank as part of the new development department. Some aides are advising him that neither the bank nor the reorganization proposal is likely to pass Congress.