President Bush Signs $388 Billion Appropriations Bill for FY 2005
President Bush on Wednesday signed a $388 billion, fiscal year 2005 omnibus appropriations bill (HR 4818) that includes funds for HHS and other federal departments, as well as many federal agencies, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports (Fram, AP/Contra Costa Times, 12/9). Congress passed the legislation on Nov. 20, but lawmakers did not send the bill to Bush until Tuesday, after they removed a provision that would have allowed the chairs of the House and Senate appropriations committees and their staffs to review income tax returns (CongressDaily, 12/6). The 658-page bill represents a "near freeze" on domestic appropriations for FY 2005 and "anticipates still tighter limits" for FY 2006, the Wall Street Journal reports (Rogers, Wall Street Journal, 12/7).
Summaries of some of the health-related provisions in the bill -- most of which do not include a 0.8% across-the-board budget reduction included in the legislation -- appear below.
- The HHS budget for FY 2005 will increase by about 2.7% from FY 2004.
- The CDC budget will increase by about $138 million, or 2%, from FY 2004, with $27 million for nutrition and exercise programs and additional funds for a cancer registry, an environmental health laboratory and preparations for a flu pandemic. In addition, CDC will receive $1.6 billion for antiterrorism efforts, although the budget for a grant program to help hospitals prepare for terrorist attacks will decrease by $20 million.
- The NIH budget for FY 2005 will increase by $575 million, or 2%, from $28 billion in FY 2004. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will receive "much" of the additional funds to build a new biodefense research center, according to the Washington Post. In addition, a separate public health emergency account administered by the HHS secretary will provide NIH with $47 million to respond to radiological and chemical attacks.
- The FDA budget for FY 2005 will increase by $76 million from FY 2004 to $1.46 billion.
- The legislation also includes a provision under which federal, state or local agencies cannot force physicians, hospitals, health insurers, HMOs or other health care entities to provide abortion services or referrals.
- The bill did not include a provision to return unspent federal SCHIP funds from FY 2004 to states (Washington Post, 12/7).
- Maternal and child programs will receive $896 million, a 0.7% increase from FY 2004.
- Health care programs for veterans will receive $30.3 billion, a $1.9 billion increase from FY 2004 (AP/Contra Costa Times, 12/9).
- The National Science Foundation budget for FY 2005 will decrease by $105 million, or 1.88%, from FY 2004 to $5.5 billion (Washington Post, 12/7).