- an amendment by Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) that would increase funding for programs authorized under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-248) by $7.845 million, offset by a transfer from the Advanced Technology Program at the National Institutes of Standards and Technology, 91-0;
- an amendment by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) that would increase funding for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America by $15 million, offset by a transfer of the previous year’s unobligated funds from the Department of Justice, by unanimous consent;
- an amendment by Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ) that would increase funding for the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s DNA analysis programs by $23 million, offset by a transfer from the Advanced Technology Program at the National Institutes of Standards and Technology, by unanimous consent;
- an amendment by Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) that would increase funding by $30 million to hire 200 assistant United States attorneys to prosecute offenses under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, offset by a transfer from the Advanced Technology Program at the National Institutes of Standards and Technology, by unanimous consent; and
- an amendment by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) that would add the provisions of the Restitution for Victims of Crime Act of 2007 (S. 973) to the bill, by unanimous consent.The Senate also agreed, 62-31, to table an amendment by Sen. John Thune (R-SD) that would have provided an additional $20 million for United States attorneys’ salaries and expenses to combat violent crime in Indian country, offset by a transfer from the Legal Services Corporation fund. Speaking in support of his amendment, Sen. Thune said, “The rate of violent crime in Indian country is disproportionately high. The Department of Justice reported that from 1992 to 2001, the average rate of violent crime among American Indians was two and half times the national rate. According to one report in the Indian Country newspaper, Native American women are seven times more likely to be victims of domestic violence than all other women are, and more than 60 percent of Indian women will be victims of violent assault during their lifetimes. According to the same report, nearly one-third of all Native American women will be raped. This is unacceptable…I offer my amendment today to help provide more resources to U.S. attorneys in Indian country to prosecute more crimes referred to them.”
Labor, Health and Human Services, and Related Agencies
On October 17, the Senate began debating the FY2008 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies spending bill (H.R. 3043). 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. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that would provide $500,000 to complete a feasibility study for a National Registry of Substantiated Cases of Child Abuse or Neglect, as authorized by the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-248), by voice vote;
- an amendment by Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) that would provide $12 million for the National Cord Blood Inventory, as authorized by the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-129), by voice vote; and
- an amendment by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) that would provide $1 million for care for pregnant women and infants, offset by eliminating an earmark for a museum in Woodstock, New York, by unanimous consent.The Senate defeated, 41-52, an amendment by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) that would have prohibited certain health facilities that perform abortions from receiving Title X family planning funds, “except where a woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness that would, as certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.”
Speaking in support of his amendment, Sen. Vitter said, “According to the last figures we could locate from 2005-2006, Planned Parenthood has about a $1 billion budget and source of revenue. About a third of that $305.3 million comes from government subsidies of one sort or another…Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood, in the last year we could get figures for, performed over 264,000 abortions…You cannot tell me, given all those numbers…that we are not sending federal taxpayer dollars that [are] supporting all of that activity, that [are] indirectly paying for those abortions clearly, enormously important to keep Planned Parenthood going, to provide for its overhead a third of all of its revenue. Pure and simple, that is wrong when so many Americans find performing abortions so deeply troubling in a fundamental, gut, moral way. So this would set the policy right and simply say, if you are a Title X recipient, if you are a recipient of those sorts of federal dollars, you need to decide. You cannot perform abortions if you want that taxpayer support when half or more of U.S. taxpayers have fundamental, moral reservations, and problems with the procedure.”
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) said, “This amendment punishes the very organizations that work hard every day using their own funds to provide family planning services and reproductive health care, including legal abortion services…His amendment will do nothing to reduce abortions. It will make contraceptives harder to get, and that will increase the number of unintended pregnancies. It will increase the number of abortions, just as we have shown the ‘Global Gag Rule’ does. Make no mistake, he may not call it a gag rule, but in essence it is. When you tell a person or an organization how they can spend their own personal funds, that is interfering with their rights.” She continued, “This amendment is an attack on Title X-supported health clinics. Title X was enacted in 1970, with strong bipartisan support, to provide high-quality, comprehensive, and low-cost family planning and reproductive health care services to those in need but who cannot afford such services. Let’s be clear. No Title X dollars may be used for abortion care.”