House Passes $123B Labor-HHS Bill; Senate Votes Today
The House yesterday approved the compromise fiscal year 2002 Labor-HHS appropriations bill (HR 3061), which allocates $123 billion for health, labor and education programs, the AP/Philadelphia Inquirer reports (Fram, AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/20). Although "normally contentious," the measure this year passed by a vote of 393-30. The Senate was scheduled to vote on the package at 11 a.m. today (Caruso/Rovner, CongressDaily/AM, 12/20). Overall, the plan provides $11 billion more than last year's package and exceeds President Bush's budget request by $7 billion (AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/20). The bill provides $39.5 billion for health funding, a "substantial boost" from last year's budget and $2.1 billion more than Bush had sought. The NIH received a 15% increase -- the "biggest single increase" -- and will receive $2.9 billion. However, due to a last-minute cut, the funding does not keep NIH on its "five-year doubling trajectory." Funding for community health centers was increased 15% from last year to $6.1 billion and the National Health Service Corps, which works to place medical professionals in underserved areas, received a 19% increase over last year (Rovner, CongressDaily, 12/19). The package appropriates $4.3 billion to the CDC, of which $250 million will cover construction at the agency's "aging" headquarters in Atlanta. The funds will also pay for new infectious disease labs, a toxicology lab and a communications and training center (McClam, AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 12/20). The bill is also "dotted" with hundreds of appropriations for "home district projects" for health care facilities and programs (AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/20).
The bill allocates $610 million for state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs. It also includes a provision allowing the HHS inspector general to conduct an audit of all federally funded HIV/AIDS prevention programs and report to Congress any programs offering "sexually explicit workshops" with federal funds (HR 3061 text, 12/20).