As U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle (D., Pa.) finished outlining potential funding cuts facing Philadelphia under the Republican-controlled Congress, City Council President Darrell L. Clarke paused, then let out a sigh.
"I will have a difficult time sleeping tonight," Clarke said. "Oh, my God. This is scary stuff."
And that was only the first speaker.
Witness after witness took the microphone at Council's fiscal stability hearing Monday, collectively painting a bleak picture for Philadelphia's finances in which countless vital programs could be impacted by moves on either the state or federal level.
The hearing, which stretched nearly three hours, came four days before Mayor Kenney will deliver his budget address. He will do so in a starkly more turbulent political climate than the one that faced him for his first budget last year.
The city received more than $340 million in federal grants in fiscal year 2015, much of it targeted by the Trump administration under an executive order to pull funding from so-called sanctuary cities. Up to $638 million more in state funding could dry up if a Senate bill also tied to Philadelphia's policies regarding federal immigration officers becomes law.
City Finance Director Rob Dubow cited both the state and federal efforts Monday, telling Council the "implications of such action could be devastating for the city."
Dubow said that even without clarity, staff in the Kenney administration are meeting regularly to consider contingency plans. Clarke also said his office is pulling together an informal "rapid-response team" with representatives of city, state, and federal elected officials who can help the others stay informed and quickly gauge the impact of potential policies.
"I really need a daily or every-other-day synopsis of what's going on in Harrisburg because it just changes so rapidly," Clarke said after the hearing ended.
Clarke called for the hearing in January and has warned the city could be in trouble, but said even he was shocked to hear some of the potential impacts listed by Boyle, a Democrat from Northeast Philadelphia. Boyle's worst-case-scenario list included hits to food stamps, Amtrak funding, beds for the homeless, Medicaid, transportation safety studies, medical research grants, and early education programs, among many more.
"It is no exaggeration to say that in pure dollars and cents this is the gravest threat the City of Philadelphia has faced from the federal government," Boyle said.
On the state level, Gov. Wolf's chief of staff, Michael Brunelle, took his audience before Council as a chance to outline the governor's proposed budget, which would close the state's deficit with cuts and agency consolidation while increasing education funding through new taxes and fees. Brunelle then acknowledged the plan could be thrown into turmoil by changes in the federal budget.
He said serious cuts to Medicaid funding, for example, could have a "catastrophic" impact.
"That's going to force a choice on people," he said. "Are you going to raise local taxes or is the state going to find new ways to replace that funding?"
Amid the uncertainty, Councilman Allan Domb suggested the city be proactive. He asked Boyle how to set up a meeting among Kenney, Council members, and President Trump "to try to find some compromises."
Boyle offered one suggestion.
"The best way to meet?" he asked. "Well, have you tried tweeting him?"