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Congress Continues Work on FY2002 Spending Bills

This week, Congress came closer to completing action on the remaining FY2002 appropriations bills when it sent two measures to the President. With only 5 of the 13 measures signed into law—3 are awaiting signature—a fifth continuing resolution (H. J. Res. 71) was needed to fund government agencies through December 7. Both the House and the Senate passed the resolution on November 15 by unanimous consent. Five FY2002 spending bills are still in conference.

Agriculture: This week, the House and Senate cleared the conference report for the FY2002 agriculture appropriations bill (H.R. 2330). The House approved the conference report by a vote of 379-33 on November 13. The Senate approved it on November 15 by a vote of 92-7.

The final bill provides $4.348 billion for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), a $305 million increase over last year and $211 million more than the President’s request. The House provided $4.137 billion, while the Senate provided $4.247 billion.

The conference report makes a slight change to Senate report language by requiring the General Accounting Office, rather than the Department of Agriculture, to conduct a study on WIC’s infant formula rebate program.

Child nutrition programs receive a $546 million increase over FY2001, bringing FY2002 funding to $10.087 billion, the same amount provided by the Senate. That figure is roughly $2 million less than the House provided and the President requested.

The conference report provides a $500,000 increase for the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Office of Women’s Health. The House-passed bill included report language recommending a $700,000 increase, while the Senate report remained silent on the issue. The final conference report also directs the FDA to develop an agency-wide database focused on women’s health activities that includes demographic data on clinical trials. The FDA must report to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees by June 3, 2002, on its “ability to review clinical trials databases, coordinate data collection, and identify areas in which gaps exist.”

Commerce-Justice-State: The House approved the conference report for the FY2002 Commerce, Justice, State, and Related Agencies appropriations bill (H.R. 2500) on November 14 by a vote of 411-15. The Senate approved it on November 15 by a vote of 98-1.

Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs receive $390.56 million, the same amount requested by the President and provided by the House and Senate. VAWA funding is to be distributed as follows:

 

Under the final bill, Justice Department grants to victims of trafficking receive $10 million, as provided in the House and Senate bills. Juvenile justice programs receive $306 million. The House bill would have level-funded the programs at $297.94 million, while the Senate provided $328.5 million.

The final bill provides $2 million to the State Department to fund an international conference on combating international sex trafficking, as provided in the Senate bill. The House bill provided $1.8 million for the conference and provided $2 million for the Department of State to operate an office within the Department to monitor and combat trafficking in persons. The office was not funded in the final measure.

Several programs related to women-owned businesses are level-funded, as provided by the House and Senate: Women’s Business Centers receive $12 million, the National Women’s Business Council receives $750,000, and the Survey of Women-Owned Business Enterprises receives $694,000.

The Legal Services Corporation is level-funded at $329 million, the same amount provided by the House and Senate. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is level-funded at $310 million, the same amount provided by the House and Senate. The Commission on Civil Rights receives a $216,000 increase to $9.096 million, the same amount provided by the House and Senate.

The final bill also maintains current law with respect to the prohibition on the use of federal funds to pay for abortions for women in federal prisons.

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