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House Set to Debate Budget Resolution

After a day-long mark-up, the House Budget Committee on March 21 approved a FY2002 budget resolution (as-yet-unnumbered) by a party line vote of 23-19. The resolution largely reflects President Bush’s proposal. Committee Democrats offered nearly 40 amendments, most of which were defeated.

While the House will consider the FY2002 budget resolution on March 27 and 28, the Senate is expected to debate its version the week of April 2. Senate Budget Committee Chair Pete Domenici (R-NM) has indicated that the resolution will likely be sent directly to the Senate floor, bypassing committee consideration.

As approved by the House Budget Committee, the FY2002 budget resolution would provide $335.7 billion in nondefense discretionary spending, representing a 3.5 percent increase over FY2001. The resolution also would cap FY2002 emergency spending at $5.6 billion.

Overall, the FY2002 budget resolution would provide for a $1.62 trillion tax cut over ten years. These tax cuts would be implemented through four separate reconciliation packages: a marginal rate reduction, doubling of the child tax credit, marriage tax penalty relief, and elimination of the estate tax.

The budget resolution also would provide for a number of education-related tax proposals including an increase in the annual contribution to education IRAs from $500 to $5,000; a tax deduction of up to $400 for teachers who purchase school supplies out-of-pocket; and a tax exemption for pre-paid tuition savings plans.

Education, training, employment, and social services would receive $82.1 billion in budget authority and $76.2 billion in outlays. Under the resolution, the Department of Education would receive an 11.5 percent increase. Additionally, the budget resolution assumes funding for several of the President’s education proposals, including $900 million for reading education and $2.6 billion for states to improve teacher quality.

The budget also would establish a $1.25 billion reserve fund for the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). Additionally, under the budget resolution, $1 billion would be provided for the President’s proposed increase for Pell Grants.

The budget resolution would provide $204 billion in budget authority and $201.1 billion in outlays for health programs in FY2002, representing an 11.7 percent increase over last year. The resolution assumes a $2.8 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health to $23.1 billion. Additionally, the resolution assumes increased funding for community health centers, as well as enactment of legislation to provide a refundable tax credit for the purchase of health insurance and enactment of legislation (H.R. 600) to give states the option of expanding Medicaid coverage for children with special needs.

The budget resolution also provides for Medicare reform and the implementation of prescription drug coverage by setting aside almost $400 billion for Medicare reform and $153 billion for prescription drug coverage.

International affairs would receive $23.9 billion in budget authority and $19.6 billion in outlays for FY2002, representing a 6.3 percent increase over last year. Of that amount, $1 billion would be provided to combat global HIV/AIDS and to improve primary education in Africa. According to budget documents, the resolution assumes increases for the Child Survival and Diseases Fund, development assistance, and migrant and refugee assistance.

The budget resolution would provide $200 million for the President’s proposed Math and Science Initiative at the National Science Foundation. Additionally, the resolution would provide funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children to maintain its current program level of 7.25 million recipients per month. The budget resolution also assumes a $7 million increase for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to $310 million in FY2002.

A number of amendments were offered that would have impacted women and families, including:

  • An amendment, by Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), that would have provided an additional $79 billion over ten years for education. It was defeated, 17-23. The amendment would have directed the additional funding toward increasing the maximum Pell Grant and recruiting teachers, as well as providing $6.8 billion in tax credits for school modernization bonds.
  • An amendment, by Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), that would have provided an additional $60 billion over ten years to increase family eligibility for Medicaid to provide insurance to low-income children. It was defeated, 15-21.
  • An amendment by Rep. Darlene Hooley (D-OR), that would have increased funding for special education. It was defeated, 19-22.
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