Congress Approves War Spending Measure With Health Care Funds
The House and Senate on Thursday approved a $120 billion fiscal year 2007 supplemental appropriations bill (HR 2206) for military operations in Iraq that includes $17 billion for nonmilitary programs, such as the State Children's Health Insurance Program, the Washington Post reports (Murray, Washington Post, 5/25).
President Bush on May 1 vetoed an earlier version of the bill because of opposition to provisions that called for the withdrawal of most U.S. troops from Iraq by March 2008, as well as the inclusion of funds for nonmilitary programs. The House on May 2 failed to override the veto.
The House on May 10 voted 221-205 to approve a new version of the legislation, and the Senate last week voted 94-1 to approve a "placeholder" bill that includes no funds in order to allow negotiations on a final version of the legislation to begin.
House and Senate leaders on Tuesday agreed to vote on a $120 billion version of the bill that does not include a timeline to withdraw troops from Iraq (California Healthline, 5/24).
As part of the agreement, the House on Thursday voted on two amendments to the bill that the Senate passed last week: one to provide $97.8 billion requested by Bush for military operations and one to provide $22.2 billion proposed by Democrats for nonmilitary programs. The House voted 348-73 to approve the nonmilitary amendment, which includes $650 million for SCHIP, as well as funds for health care for veterans (Higa, CQ Today, 5/24).
The amendment also would allow Wisconsin to continue to operate SeniorCare, a prescription drug program for low-income seniors, for two additional years (Gilbert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5/24). The amendment would not provide funds for pandemic flu preparedness included in earlier versions of the bill.
The House also voted 280-142 to approve the military amendment, which includes $3 billion for health care for troops (CQ Today, 5/24). After the House votes, the Senate voted 80-14 to approve the bill with both amendments (Higa/Rogin, CQ Today, 5/24).
Bush on Thursday announced that he will sign the bill (Washington Post, 5/25). Bush said, "I wanted to remove even more" nonmilitary spending from the legislation, but, "by voting for this bill, members of both parties can show our troops and the Iraqis and the enemy that our country will support our servicemen and women in harm's way" (Cohn, CongressDaily, 5/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.