The House Appropriations Committee approved by voice vote $474 billion for HHS in fiscal 2006 for discretionary and mandatory spending -- $94.6 billion more than 2005.
Medicare's new prescription-drug benefit will begin in 2006. The bill, worth a total of $602 billion, also covered the Labor and Education departments. It is expected to face a vote by the full House next week.
The Senate, meanwhile, is not expected to take action on a corresponding spending bill until July.
The House bill would reduce HHS' discretionary budget slightly, 0.1% or $164 million, to $142.5 billion. The CMS, which oversees Medicare and Medicaid, would receive all of the HHS funding increase and then some -- its $401 billion budget up $95.8 billion from the current year. The bill would allocate $28.5 billion for the National Institutes of Health and $6.1 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.