The Senate set up a White House showdown, voting 56-37 to approve a massive fiscal 2008 spending bill that would fund HHS and the departments of Labor and Education. The House is expected to pass the $605.5 billion package later tonight despite a promised veto from President Bush.
At the outset, the billwhich has traveled a very complex path even by Congress standardswould reverse White House cuts to health and education grant programs, while earmarking about $150 billion in discretionary spending. Bush said he would veto the legislation because it comes in at more than $9 billion above what was set out in his February budget.
The Labor-HHS funding bill is the most costly of 12 appropriations bills that have stalled on Capitol Hill. The legislation increases funding to the National Institutes of Health by $1 billion, bringing its fiscal 2008 allotment to $29.9 billion; funds community health centers at $2.2 billion, or $250 million more than last year; and sets aside $6.4 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly $224 million more than in fiscal 2007. -- by Matthew DoBias
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