Giving at the Office
Down? To demonstrate that officers will sacrifice along with enlisted men, President Reagan and Republican congressional leaders said in December that they would take a 10 percent pay cut in fiscal 1986. But none is found in the budget the president formally sent to Congress yesterday.
White House spokesmen said it is unconstitutional to raise or lower the president's $200,000 salary during his elected term. But they said he would write a check to the Treasury -- for whatever percentage Congress decides to trim federal employes' pay. Sources say this probably won't be more than 5 percent, and maybe only 2 percent. Sunrise, Sunset
Up: The Housing and Urban Development Department is seeking to more than double its spending on fair housing programs, from $6.7 million this fiscal year to $15 million in fiscal 1986. HUD wants to spend $10 million on "fair housing initiatives" to help local governments and community boards enforce anti-discrimination laws. It also wants $5 million in "fair housing assistance" to help local governments process discrimination complaints.
Down: The sun is setting on the Solar Bank at HUD, however. The department is seeking no new funding for the agency, which provides grants and loan subsidies for energy conservation improvements and solar energy systems. The budget proposes that the bank "be concluded upon the planned obligation of all funds appropriated through 1985." Great Communicatee
The Reagan administration had been planning to propose deep cuts in the Peace Corps until Prime Minister Ratu Sir Kamisese K.T. Mara of Fiji visited Reagan in the Oval Office and told him how important the Peace Corps was in Fiji. Reagan then decided against the cuts.
It may be that nothing is real in the White House until it's been on television. Reagan aides also were considering deep cuts in the low-income energy assistance program, which subsidizes the heating fuel costs of the needy and has some powerful congressional supporters from the Northeast. Reagan saw an evening news broadcast describing how the program helped keep poor people, including many elderly people, from freezing; he vetoed the cuts the next day. What's Our IQ Cost?
Billions for defense but not 1 cent for intelligence -- or so you'd gather from reading the budget. The total figure for all intelligence agencies might be about $15 billion, but your guess is as good as anyone's. Not a single figure on the cost is in the document; they're hidden, for national security reasons, as general, special, contingency and emergency funds for various branches and independent agencies of the government.
In addition to the Central Intelligence Agency, other agencies involved include the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the Secret Service, the National Reconnaissance Office and the intelligence departments of each of the armed services.
The NSA, which monitors foreign communications through a worldwide network of ground stations, satellites, aircraft, ships and submarines, is probably the biggest, with as many as 75,000 civilian and military employes. Its budget has been estimated at $10 billion; the CIA budget is estimated between $2 billion and $4 billion.
Primary oversight is through the Senate and House intelligence committees, which are briefed with the help of state-of-the- art counterspy devices -- maybe along the line of television spy Maxwell Smart's "Cone of Silence." Down and Out
Out: Congress last year added $5 million to the Labor Department budget to finance a nationwide study of the impact of plant closings and mass layoffs on communities and workers. The Reagan administration now wants to ax it, arguing that the "economic recovery" has eliminated the need for it. Down: While an employe can be riffed in a Reduction in Force, a government office can be rissed, according to the Labor Department's plans for a "Reduction-in-Status" of three of its 10 regional offices. The Seattle, Boston and Kansas City offices would no longer be regional facilities, but would maintain "area offices" for most DOL agencies. The move would "reduce overhead costs without removing services," a department spokesman said. The New York, Philadelphia, Dallas and San Francisco offices would take on additional duties. Spending for Getting
Up: The Internal Revenue Service plans to spend more taxpayers' money in order to obtain more taxpayers' money. The fiscal 1986 budget includes a request to hire 2,500 additional examiners each year in 1987, 1988 and 1989. The administration says the effort should increase tax collections between $4 billion and $5 billion for the three years -- minus the cost of the additional salaries, estimated at $300 million. Things Scientific
Up: The National Science Foundation budget would increase by 4.4 percent, to $1.57 billion, under the president's budget. The U.S. Antarctic Research Program would grow by 8 percent to more than $120 million because of the long-term potential of that continent's raw materials. The NSF budget for social science research would increase 19 percent to $34 million because the government has realized how valuable the findings are in providing an "information base" for decision-making, according to NSF Director Erich Bloch.
Down: The budget for the Scientific, Technological and International Affairs division would drop by 14 percent. The cuts would include a 14 percent reduction in funds for international scientific cooperation and elimination of such programs as "Ethics and Values in Science and Technology" and "Productivtiy Improvement Research." Weathermen Outlook
Down: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Budget would eliminate special agricultural weather and frost-warning programs, a savings of $1.4 million and 37 jobs, and cut forecast and warning services by more than $200 million by trimming staff and terminating some flood-warning work in the Colorado River Basin.
Up: The budget for weather satellites systems would grow by $59 million, up from $113 million, to continue the operation of two stationary weather satellites and one polar orbiter. The increases also would let NOAA procure additional satellites to have ready when older ones fail. SOS
The Transportation Department wants to collect "user fees" from those needing help from the Coast Guard, which it estimates would raise $236 million annually. This idea has been floated up to the Hill three of the past four years and has been sunk by political gunfire every time. The issue is whether the Coast Guard will demand payment before making a rescue.
"It would be nonemergency forms of search and rescue, I would certainly think, and recreational boating," said Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Hanford Dole of the proposal, which has not been drafted. "It's a very logical thing that, why should everybody as a general taxpayer be paying for certain services that impact on a certain group of people? So we will definitely be moving in that direction." Interior, Parks
Up, Up: Once more for the Gipper. The Interior Department is again proposing to increase charges for visiting federal parks, recreation areas and campgrounds by about 45 percent, but Interior officials could provide no park-by-park specifics.
Fee increases of similar proportions are foreseen for ranchers who graze their cattle on federal grasslands. But officials, eager to avoid locking horns with cattlemen and congressmen, said the department is not trying to short-circuit a review of grazing fees under way in the Interior and Agriculture departments. The 50 percent increase in the budget, they said, is "for revenue projection purposes only."
The Interior Department budget proposal is so tight that the administration is declaring complete its ambitious five-year plan to refurbish the national parks after only four years and $1 billion.
But there was still room for a $2.2 million request for President's Park. In case you don't recognize the name, that's the parkland at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The money would go to a "complete renovation" of the White House utilities.