Congress made progress on the FY2004 budget resolution this week, despite the start of war with Iraq. On March 21, the House narrowly approved, 215-212, its resolution (H. Con. Res. 95). At press time, the Senate was expected to approve its resolution (S. Con. Res. 23). Last week, both the House and Senate Budget Committees approved their respective resolutions (see The Source, 3/14/03).
Under the Senate resolution, $784 billion would be provided for discretionary spending in FY2004, approximately the same amount requested by the President. The House resolution would provide $775 billion in FY2004.
Both the House and Senate plans would establish several reserve funds in the event that Congress enacts legislation to address Medicare reform, including a prescription drug benefit, and Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) reform. The House and Senate would provide $400 billion over ten years for the Medicare reserve fund. Additionally, the House and Senate would provide $3.3 billion in FY2004 and $8.9 billion between FY2004 and FY2008 for Medicaid and SCHIP reform. The Senate plan also would allocate $12.8 billion through FY2010, provided that the legislation does not increase the deficit within the next ten years.
The House plan would provide $27.8 billion for all international programs. Of this amount, $2 billion would be provided for global HIV/AIDS programs in FY2004 and $15 billion would be provided over the next five years. Under the Senate plan, $11.5 billion would be provided in discretionary funding for international development and assistance. Also, $450 million would be provided for global HIV/AIDS programs in FY2004 and $22 billion would be provided over the next ten years.
Additionally, the House plan would provide $75.4 billion for education programs and the Senate would provide $78.6 billion in FY2004. Of this amount, $12.4 billion would be provided in FY2004 by the House for Title I under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The Senate would provide $12.7 billion in FY2004, a $1 billion increase over last year. The House also would provide $1.2 billion for reading education programs and would level-fund the Improving Teacher Quality State Grants at $2.9 billion.
The Senate would level-fund special education at $10.1 billion in FY2004 and the House would provide a $60 million increase. The Senate also would level-fund impact aid at $1.2 billion, while the House would provide an additional $50 million. Under the House plan, the Education and the Workforce Committee would be instructed to cut $9.7 billion from mandatory programs, including student loans and child nutrition programs.
In FY2004, health programs would receive $235 billion under the House plan and $240.6 billion under the Senate plan. Both the House and the Senate would provide $27.9 billion for the National Institutes of Health, $700 million more than last year.
Prior to approval, the Senate tabled, 50-48, an amendment offered by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) that would have fully funded the No Child Left Behind Act in FY2004.
The Senate also assumes $622 million for the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant, $2.3 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant, $6.8 billion for Head Start, and a $69 million increase in funding for Foster Care and Adoption Assistance programs.