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Congress Sends Treasury-Postal Spending Bill to President

The conference report for the FY2002 Treasury, Postal Service, and General Government appropriations bill (H.R. 2590) was approved, 339-85, by the House on October 31. The Senate approved it on November 1 by a vote of 83-15.

The final measure requires health plans participating in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) to cover prescription contraceptives if they cover other prescription drugs. Abortion coverage under FEHBP is prohibited. Both bills included the contraceptive coverage provision, while only the House bill included the restriction on abortion coverage. The President’s budget had proposed to eliminate contraceptive coverage under FEHBP.

A pilot program that allows federal agencies to use administrative funds to help low-income employees pay for child care expenses was made permanent under the final bill. The House bill extended the program for one year, while the Senate bill made the program permanent.

The final bill renews a provision that allows women to breastfeed their children in federal buildings or on federal property. The language was included in both the House and Senate bills.

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