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Philly Council weighs possibility of funding losses under GOP Congress

 Councilman Bobby Henon speaks with U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle prior to the hearing. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Councilman Bobby Henon speaks with U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle prior to the hearing. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Fearing that a Republican majority in Congress could rubber-stamp some Trump administration cuts that Democrats have been resisting for years, a Philadelphia Council hearing focused on potential losses Monday.

If Donald Trump and a Republican-dominated Congress have their way, U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle said, Philadelphia could lose hundreds of millions in federal funds.

“We’re talking about, literally, every major area of the budget is being looked at at being severely cut or actually being zeroed out,” said Boyle, D-Philadelphia.

Privatizing services or giving vouchers instead of funding would seriously hurt Philadelphia operations, he said.

With budget negotiations on the horizon, Council President Darrell Clarke said, city leaders need to know what’s ahead.

“We need to be prepared for the worst, and we need to put in place certain measures to mitigate certain challenges,” he said.

City finance director Rob Dubow said he is preparing the city budget without consideration of possible changes in federal funding.

“The PICA Act, under which we do our budget, is really clear — our budgets need to be based on existing legislation,” Dubow said.

Trump is set to discuss his first budget plan, widely expected to contain cuts in social program spending, Tuesday night.

As a “sanctuary city” that does not detain unauthorized immigrants for deportation, Philadelphia is also in danger of losing some federal revenue as a punishment for not adhering to Trump’s executive orders.

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