The Reagan administration proposal to consolidate more than 90 programs into seven huge "block grants" to the states fared relatively poorly in the budget bill. Funds for most of the programs were cut by as much as 25 percent, but a large portion remained under federal control with separate indenties.
Three of the proposed blocks, for social services programs, community development and low-income energy and emergency welfare assistance, were dropped entirely. Most of the programs continued as categorical programs.
In education, the administration's proposed two big blocks consolidating more than 409 school-aid programs ended up as one block covering about 33 programs, but those that will continue as separate federal programs were the biggest ones, containing about 90 percent of the federal education aid.
Details of how each block grant proposal fared, except for the health proposals, which were described in The Federal Report on Aug. 3:
Social Services: Congress rejected the proposal to unite about a dozen programs into one big block. Some federal controls of program guidelines were eased. Funding was set at $2.4 billion (a $600 million cut) in fiscal 1982, $2.45 billion in 1983, $2.5 billion in 1984, $2.6 billion in 1985 and $2.7 billion thereafter.
Child welfare remained separate and unchanged, with anticipated outlays of $225 million in fiscal 1982. Foster-care and adoption assistance also remained the same, with anticipated outlays of $395 million.
Community services (the remnant of the old poverty program) was turned into a separate mini-block with $389 million a year, of which $354-million would be earmarked for the states to support community-based organizations and later local government units, the rest being retained by the Department of Health and Human Services for discretionary grants. The Community Services Administration, which formerly administered this program, would be abolished.
Continuing as separate federal programs would be vocational rehabilitation ($1 billion in fiscal 1983, $1.054 billion in 1983); the child-abuse control program at $19 million in 1982; the runaway youth program with a $25 million annual authorization; the juvenile justice program with $77 million in 1982, $77.5 million in 1983 and $74.9 million in 1984, and the developmental disabilities program at $61 million a year.
Community Development: The administration had said it wanted to unite community development grants and urban development action grants into a block grant, but it never sent up detailed plans. In the end, Congress authorized $3.66 billion a year for community development grants, eased federal control over applications by communities and, in effect, kept the action grants separate at $500 million a year.
Low-Income Energy and Emergency Aid: Congress ignored President Reagan's request to merge the low-income energy assistance program, which pays heating bills for the poor, with the small welfare emergency assistance program, with a total authorization of $1.4 billion. Instead, it authorized the heating program to continue with somewhat less federal paperwork imposed, at $1.875 billion a year for the next three years. Welfare emergency assistance with left as part of the welfare program.
Education: The president proposed uniting more than 40 educational programs into two huge block grnats, cut by about a quarter to $4.3 billion. However, Congress reauthorized as separate categorical programs Title 1 grants to school districts to help educationally disadvantaged children ($3.48 billion a year for the next three years); the program of aid to the handicapped ($1.149 billion in 1982, rising slightly thereafter); adult education ($100 million a year); and the Women's Educational Equity Act ($6 million). Three other major programs to president had not tried to include in the block also were reauthorized separately: vocational and bilingual education and impact aid.)
Congress did put into a block, although in some cases with some strings attached on how the money would be spent, some 33 programs, including Follow Through the Teacher Corps, the school library program and emergency school aid. Authorization would be $589 million a year in fiscal 1982-4. Six percent of the money is reserved for the secretary of education for social discretionary grants.