Democratic lawmakers accused the White House of turning a blind eye to domestic priorities after President Bush vetoed a $605.5 billion domestic spending bill that would have expanded funding for HHS and the Education and Labor departments. All along, Bush had promised a veto because the bill far exceeded his February budget request.
These investments are about hope and opportunity for our children, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said in a written statement.
The bill would have reversed many White House cuts to health and education grant programs, while dedicating about $150 billion in discretionary spending. It would have also increased funding to the National Institutes of Health by $1 billion, bringing its fiscal 2008 allotment to $29.9 billion; funded community health centers at $2.2 billion, or $250 million more than last year; and set aside $6.4 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly $224 million more than in fiscal 2007.
Dan Hawkins, senior vice president for policy and programs at the National Association of Community Health Centers, said the bill would have allowed more than 1 million additional underserved and uninsured patients access to care. In contrast, by vetoing this bill, funding for the federal health centers program remains flat, and health center directors, clinicians and patients will see no new resources even as healthcare costs continue to rise, he said in a statement. -- by Matthew DoBias
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