NEW ORLEANS -- House republicans like Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise are excited this week in Washington. The final components of a plan to cut billions from the federal deficit will come together before next week.
'It's way too long that this is finally happening,' Scalise said. 'I'm really glad we're at a point where we're finally going to see real cuts come out of Congress.'
But many are worried the scope of the budget cuts will leave scars too deep to heal. Among the 60 government programs slated for elimination or decreased funding is the Americorps program, which was vital in the rebuilding efforts after Katrina.
'Whatever it takes to enhance a community so that people can come back to the neighborhood, Americorps members have been instrumental in doing that,' said Kevin Brown of the Trinity Christian Community.
Brown is the head of Trinity Christian Community, an organization that helps to rebuild homes with the help of Americorps members and the volunteers they bring.
To date, nearly 900 families are back in homes here in New Orleans because of their work. But the Americorps program is slated to lose all of its funding, an estimated $700 million.
'I think most people around this country know, we have got a massive spending problem in Washington and we have to reduce this out of control spending and we're finally going to take steps to do that,' Scalise said.
'Maybe if he knew more about what Americorps does and its value, he'd be speaking differently,' Brown said.
Brown said for every dollar the U.S. spends on Americorps, it gets 42 cents back through the jobs created and increased property values.
But Ashley Sloan, formerly with Americorps and now with the Saint Bernard Project, said there's more.
'On a personal level, I've seen how it creates productive citizens,' Sloan said.
She said all she wanted to do and still tries to do is help. She just hopes members of Congress would do the same, deciding, as it did in 2006, to keep Americorps and other valuable programs funded.
Republicans say the measure also will bar the Obama administration from spending any money to implement the 2010 health-care overhaul. Any decision made by the House will still have to pass the full Senate before becoming law.