House Passes $2.41 Trillion FY 2005 Budget Resolution
The House on Thursday approved on a 215-212 vote a $2.41 trillion budget proposal for the 2005 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, the Los Angeles Times reports (Curtius, Los Angeles Times, 3/26). Ten Republicans joined all of the House Democrats in voting against the bill, the AP/Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The proposal calls for $369 billion in domestic spending, the same level as last year and $1.3 billion less than what President Bush called for in his budget proposal (Fram, AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/26). In addition, the budget proposal calls for an unspecified five-year $13 billion cut in entitlement programs such as Medicaid and welfare, the Washington Post reports (Babington, Washington Post, 3/26). The budget proposal includes $30.7 billion for veterans' services, mostly for health care, the AP/Inquirer reports. The figure is $1.2 billion more than what Bush proposed but $1.2 billion less than what some Republican lawmakers wanted, according to the AP/Inquirer (AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/26).
Democrats said that budget measure "shortchang[es] seniors, veterans, medical research, environmental programs and transportation," according to the Times. Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) accused Republicans of "slashing spending" for Medicaid and medical research to finance tax cuts for high-income U.S. residents, the Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 3/26). However, Republicans said that the measure is "a careful mix of: spending increases for the military and homeland defense; a spending cut or freeze in most other areas; and continued tax reductions to stimulate the economy," the Post reports (Washington Post, 3/26). Rep. Jim Nussle (R-Iowa) said, "Tax cuts didn't cause the deficits. It's spending, it's spending, it's spending that gets us into deficit." Bush praised the House for passing the budget proposal and called for the House and Senate "to reach agreement quickly" on their budget proposals for fiscal year 2005. According to the Times, informal negotiations are already underway between the two chambers to reconcile their budgets, and Republican leaders hope to have a compromise bill ready by April 15 (Los Angeles Times, 3/26). The congressional budget does not become law, but it sets some limits on tax and spending bills that follow, the AP/Inquirer reports (AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/26).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.