Conference Committee OKs Health-Related Budget Plan
A House and Senate conference committee on Thursday reached agreement on a $216 billion budget package that includes the fiscal year 2008 Labor-HHS-Education (HR 3043) and Military Construction-Veterans Affairs (HR 2642) appropriations bills, the Wall Street Journal reports (Rogers, Wall Street Journal, 11/2).
The agreement includes $151 billion in discretionary spending for the Labor-HHS-Education bill and $65 billion in discretionary spending for the Military Construction-VA bill (Taylor, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 11/1). The committee plans to file a report on the package by Nov. 5, with House and Senate floor votes expected to follow (Clarke, CQ Today, 11/1).
Previously, Democrats planned to include the FY 2008 Defense appropriations bill (HR 3222) in the package but decided to remove the legislation in an effort to obtain more Republican support (Wall Street Journal, 11/2). According to CongressDaily, House Appropriations Committee Chair David Obey (D-Wis.) late Wednesday told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that he planned to remove the Defense bill from the package "as a way to accommodate GOP concerns about trying to piggyback a $10 billion boost above President Bush's request for Labor-HHS funding on top of money for troops and veterans' benefits" (Cohn, CongressDaily, 11/1).
Bush has threatened to veto the package. He also has threatened to veto the Labor-HHS-Education bill because the legislation exceeds his request for discretionary spending by $9 billion but has not threatened to veto the Military Construction-VA bill (California Healthline, 11/1).