Most veterans would have to pay $2 every time they pick up a prescription from one of the nation's 172 veterans hospitals. Boat owners could face a $25-a-boat fee.
Medicare premiums would rise $1.30 a month, and students at Washington's Smith Business School and Cheverly's Diesel Institute of America may have a tougher time getting federal loans. Miners who operate unsafe mines would face much stiffer fines, as would employers who violate child labor laws. Fines would increase to $10,000 for each child labor violation from $1,000.
Those are some of the little ways the budget agreement could affect the lives of millions of Americans. Although the final details of cuts in federal programs and increases in taxes, fees and fines are yet to be set by Congress, plans proposed by the House and Senate show that lawmakers intend that a wide number of programs will be affected in virtually every department.
For example, under plans approved by the House and the Senate, veterans buying a house with a loan from the popular program run by the Department of Veterans Affairs would have to pay a bigger loan-origination fee -- 1.75 or 2 percent of the loan instead of the current 1.25 percent -- to get the department's loan guarantee.
Motorists would be hit hardest by the increase in the gasoline tax in the Senate bill -- from the current 9 cents per gallon to 18 1/2 cents per gallon. The House bill would retain the 9-cents-a-gallon tax.
Travelers would feel the impact in other ways too. Airline ticket taxes would be increased in both the House and Senate bills -- from the current 8 percent to 10 percent.
The Senate would impose about $1 billion over five years in boater fees but does not specify what type of fee should be charged. The House plan would collect $173 million over five years. Among the possibilities, however, are a $25-per-boat fee or fees for boat licensing and inspection. The legislation provides that any indirect fees, such as a per-boat fee, may be collected only from boats operating in navigable waters where the Coast Guard has an established presence.
That means a cruiser on the Intracoastal Waterway might be charged, but a rowboat on a pond could float for free.
Both the House and Senate budget packages call for a fivefold increase in the amount of fines the Labor Department can levy against employers who violate the Occupational Safety and Health Act and a three-fold increase against mine owners who violate federal mine safety laws. In addition, the House would impose mandatory minimum fines and criminal penalties against employers whose workers suffer bodily harm.
In addition, the House would amend the National Labor Relations Act, the nation's basic labor law, to assess civil fines against employers and unions each time they are charged with a labor law violation by the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board.
While most of the budget proposals are apt to cost the average American, one of the biggest payouts is the $15 billion child-care bill being offered by the Senate. The proposal, which has the blessing of the White House, would provide earned-income tax credits for low-income workers and establish grant programs in the states to held set up child-care facilities. A child-care proposal was dropped from the House budget, but the issue will be part of the budget reconciliation package.
Both House and Senate plans would make it harder for students to use a federally guaranteed loan to attend proprietary trade schools or community colleges, which tend to attract low-income students and have higher loan default rates. Being banned from the loan program could drive some trade schools out of business and reduce enrollments or budgets of public community colleges, according to some education experts.
The House plan would bar any school whose student-loan default rate exceeded 35 percent for three years. The Senate would terminate schools whose rate in each of three years exceeded 40 percent in 1991.
In the Washington area, five trade schools would appear to be most at risk based on their 1988 default rates: Smith Business School (50 percent), Washington D.C. Beauty Academy (49 percent) and Image Makers Beauty Academy (48 percent) in the District; Diesel Institute of America in Cheverly (42 percent) and Potomac Academy of Hair Design in Lanham (40 percent).
Federal employees who counted on getting the biggest chunk of money many of them have ever had -- the lump-sum pension option -- would have until the end of this month to leave the government or forgo the payment.
The Senate wants to eliminate the option to save money; the House wants only to suspend it for five years and to provide a loophole that guarantees that employees who are 65 or older when they retire and have at least 30 years of service will retain the lump-sum option.
The plan allowed federal workers to receive two payments -- one shortly after they retire and the second a year later -- equal to the amount they have contributed to the pension plan. In the Washington area, the average payment is about $32,000.
Government personnel officials said they expect an exodus of federal workers by the deadline if the option is eliminated.
In Medicare, the health-insurance program for 33 million elderly or disabled Social Security recipients, the House bill would raise enrollees' premiums for the voluntary doctor-insurance portion of Medicare -- now $28.60 a month -- to $29.90 in 1991 and $46.20 in 1995.
The House bill would increase from $75 to $100 the annual deductible that Medicare patients must pay before Medicare starts paying for doctor bills under the doctor-insurance portion of the program. Under the Senate bill, the deductible would rise to $150 next year.
In the Senate bill, Medicare beneficiaries would be required to pay for 20 percent of the cost of clinical lab tests; the House bill does not include this requirement.
Staff writers Kenneth J. Cooper, Don Phillips, Dana Priest, Frank Swoboda and Spencer Rich contributed to this report.