House GOP Leaders Delay Vote on Appropriations Bill
House Republican leaders have decided to delay a vote planned for next week on the $141.9 billion fiscal year 2007 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill, "fueling speculation that they will try to keep a lid on the measure until after the November elections," CongressDaily reports (Cohn, CongressDaily, 6/15).
The legislation, approved earlier this week by the House Appropriations Committee, includes $454.6 billion in mandatory spending for entitlement programs, such as Medicaid and Medicare, and $141.9 billion in discretionary spending, a 0.6% increase from FY 2006 (California Healthline, 6/14).
Committee Chair Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) had hoped to move legislation, as well as the other 10 FY 2007 appropriations bills, through the House before the July 4 recess, but one lobbyist close to House Republican leaders said that he "would put money on it not coming up before the elections." According to CongressDaily, such a delay would make the bill "a prime candidate for a continuing resolution at lower funding levels or an omnibus bill, which Lewis is trying to avoid" (CongressDaily, 6/15).
In other budget news, President Bush on Thursday signed a $94.5 billion FY 2006 supplemental appropriations bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, border security, hurricane relief and pandemic flu preparedness, CongressDaily reports (CongressDaily, 6/15). Among other provisions, the legislation includes $2.3 billion for pandemic preparedness and $550 million for a new Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in New Orleans (Pear, New York Times, 6/16).
The Senate earlier on Thursday voted 98-1 to approve the bill (Higa, CQ Today, 6/15).