Senate Passes $100.7B Agriculture Appropriations Bill
The Senate on Thursday passed a $100.7 billion fiscal year 2006 Agriculture spending bill (HR 2744), which would fund the U.S. Department of Agriculture, FDA, and other agencies and programs, CQ Today reports.
The Senate version of the legislation does not include a provision that appears in the House bill that would prevent FDA from enforcing restrictions on reimporting less-expensive prescription drugs from other nations. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) filed a similar provision in the Senate but did not bring it to the floor because he was concerned that the cost of implementing drug safety requirements would cost votes, he said. The Bush administration has threatened to veto the legislation if the prescription drug provision is included. The $100.3 billion House bill was passed in early June.
A Senate appropriations aide said the Senate's added funding will go partly toward FDA. The Senate bill represents a more than 18% spending increase from $85.1 billion in FY 2005, according to committee figures. The Senate has named conferees to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the bill, while the House has not yet done so, CQ Today reports. Congressional aides this weekend might begin working on a conference to reconcile the two bills, House Appropriations Committee spokesperson John Scofield said. He added, "Naming conferees is just a formality" (Hunter, CQ Today, 9/22).