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FY2008 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Spending Bill Approved by the Senate

On October 23, the Senate approved, 75-19, the FY2008 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies spending bill (H.R. 3043), after adopting, by unanimous consent, a substitute amendment by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA). The substitute amendment incorporated the text of S. 1710, the Senate version of the spending bill (see The Source, 6/22/07; for information on the committee report accompanying S. 1701, see The Source, 7/13/07). The substitute amendment also removed a provision that would have allowed the Department of Health and Human Services to spend federal funds to conduct embryonic stem cell research. A House-Senate conference committee is expected to meet soon to reconcile the differences in the two versions of the bill. The Senate began debating the bill on October 17 (see The Source, 10/19/07); the House approved the bill on July 19 (see The Source, 7/20/07).

The measure would allocate $149.872 billion in discretionary funds in FY2008, $5.262 billion more than FY2007, $9.158 billion over President Bush’s request, and $1.676 billion less than the House version of the bill.

During debate on the measure, the Senate approved the following amendments:

  • an amendment by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) that would provide $5 million for a small business child care grant program, as authorized by the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-28), by unanimous consent;
  • an amendment by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) that would prohibit changes to the funding formulas under the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, (P.L. 109-415), 65-28; and
  • an amendment by Sens. Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) that would provide $10.333 million to carry out the National Family Caregiver Support Program, offset by a transfer of the previous year’s unobligated funds appropriated to the secretary of Health and Human Services, by unanimous consent.The Senate also agreed, 68-26, to table an amendment by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Richard Burr (R-NC) that would have prohibited any of funds in the bill from being used for any congressionally directed spending item (also known as earmarks) until the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services certified that all children in the U.S. under the age of 18 are insured by a private or public health insurance plan.
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