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House Approves Supplemental Spending Bill

On June 19, the House passed the FY2008 Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 2642). The House passed the original legislation on May 15 (see The Source, 5/16/08); the Senate approved a similar measure on May 22 (see The Source, 5/23/08).

Like the original bill, H.R. 2642 consists of two amendments. The House approved, 268-155, the first amendment, which would provide $161.8 billion for military operations (after a $3.6 billion reduction by the second amendment). The House also passed, 416-412, the second amendment, which would provide $24.7 billion for domestic and foreign aid programs, and includes the $3.6 billion reduction from military operations.

Included within the amount for military operations is $34.4 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and $18.1 billion and $1.2 billion for military personnel in FY2008 and FY2009, respectively. The bill provides funding for family separation and basic housing allowances. H.R. 2642 includes $1.4 billion in FY2008 and $1.1 billion in FY2009 for the Defense Health Program.

Within the $24.7 billion for domestic and foreign aid programs is $6 billion for the State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development, and international food aid; $850 million for foreign agricultural aid in FY2008; and $395 million in humanitarian food assistance in FY2009. The measure also contains $4.6 billion for military construction, Base Realignment and Closure Commission activities, and family housing; $210 million for military child care centers; $982 million for military hospitals; and $12 million for family housing construction.

The legislation contains a provision to extend temporary unemployment benefits for individuals who have exhausted their current benefits. However, unlike the previous House version, the bill would only provide the lesser of 13 weeks or half the period of regular compensation benefits and would not provide an additional 13 weeks to individuals living in high unemployment areas.

The bill also contains a provision to create permanent educational benefits for veterans equal to the highest tuition rate of a public college or university in their state.

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