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Congress Approves Continuing Resolution

This week, the House and Senate approved a continuing resolution to fund government programs until November 18, 2005. In addition, the Senate began its consideration of the Department of Defense spending bill.

To date, only two of the eleven FY2006 appropriations bills have been enacted into law: Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies and Legislative Branch.

Continuing Resolution

On September 29, the House approved, 348-65, a continuing resolution (H. J. Res. 68) to fund government programs until November 18, 2005. The Senate approved the continuing resolution, by voice vote, on September 30.

Under the continuing resolution, government programs would be funded at their FY2005 level, the FY2006 level set in the House-passed bill, or the FY2006 level set in the Senate-passed bill, whichever is lowest.

The continuing resolution also includes language that would allow the District of Columbia to spend its local funds at the levels in the FY2006 Transportation, Treasury, Housing and Urban Development, the Judiciary, and the District of Columbia spending bill (H.R. 3058) as approved by the House on June 30 (see The Source, 7/1/05).

The continuing resolution would extend the food stamp, child nutrition, and certain international assistance programs. In addition, authorization for the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness would be extended through November 18.

Department of Defense

This week, the Senate began its consideration of the FY2006 Department of Defense spending bill (H.R. 2863). The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the measure, 28-0, on September 28.

H.R. 2863 would allocate $390.2 billion for the Department of Defense in FY2006, a $939 million decrease below FY2005, $7 billion less than the administration’s request, and $17.8 billion less than the amount approved by the House on June 20 (see The Source, 6/24/05). Of that amount, $50 billion would be included to cover the projected costs of continuing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Several women’s health research programs would be funded under the bill: $150 million for the Army’s Peer-Reviewed Breast Cancer Research Program and $10 million for the Ovarian Cancer Research Program. Both breast cancer research and ovarian cancer research would be level-funded.

In FY2006, the measure would provide level funding of $50 million for the Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program. According to the Senate Appropriations Committee report, projects under the program could include diabetes research, lupus, osteoporosis and related bone diseases, autoimmune diseases, pulmonary hypertension, and scleroderma.

The Maternal-Fetal Health Informatics and Outreach Program would be level-funded at $1 million in FY2006.

Under the bill, $6.84 million would be provided for military HIV/AIDS research in FY2006, $7.3 million less than FY2005 and equal to the budget request.

The Senate is expected to complete action on H.R. 2863 next week.

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