Spending Bill for U.S. Health Department Passed Out of House
The House on Thursday voted 276-140 to approve a fiscal year 2008 Labor-HHS-Education spending bill (HR 3043), the AP/Arizona Daily Star reports (AP/Arizona Daily Star, 7/20).
The House Appropriations Committee on July 11 by voice vote approved the $607 billion bill, which includes $151.5 billion in discretionary funds, exceeding FY 2007 discretionary spending by $7 billion and topping President Bush's FY 2008 spending request by $10.6 billion. The House bill would increase spending on health care for the uninsured by 9% above FY 2007 levels and Bush's request for FY 2008.
Funding for the uninsured includes a 10% increase in spending for community health centers. The bill also includes $1.1 billion to prepare for a potential avian flu pandemic.
Earmarks in the bill total $565 million -- a 50% reduction from earmarked funds in the appropriations bill that was approved two years ago (California Healthline, 7/19).
The bill did not receive the two-thirds majority of votes that would be necessary to override Bush's expected veto (Cohn, CongressDaily, 7/20).
The House on Wednesday voted 230-196 to defeat an amendment in the fiscal year 2008 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill that would have reduced Ryan White Program funding for San Francisco and other areas, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The amendment -- which was introduced by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) -- highlights the debate between cities like San Francisco, which were at the "epicenter" of the HIV/AIDS epidemic when it first emerged in the 1980s and early 1990s, and communities nationwide that were "hit by the disease later," according to the Chronicle.
Communities more recently affected by the costs associated with HIV/AIDS have said that Ryan White funding formulas "unfairly favo[r] cities such as San Francisco and have been trying to change it, with some success," the Chronicle reports (Epstein, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/20).
The Bush administration in May announced Ryan White funding reductions for some areas -- including an $8.6 million reduction in funding to the San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties -- according to a release from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Pelosi and Rep. Dave Obey (D-Wis.), who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, included language in the Labor-HHS bill to mitigate funding cuts to San Francisco and 11 other jurisdictions nationwide.
The language restored $6.3 million in funding for San Francisco.
The amendment introduced by Barton would have reinstated those cuts, according to the release (Pelosi release, 7/18).
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) expressed confidence that the Republicans would be able to sustain a veto. "We have other members who, while they may have voted 'yes' here, will vote to sustain a veto," Boehner said.
House Appropriations Chair David Obey (D-Wis.) said, "It was a damn good vote. With all of the Sturm und Drang, they couldn't find anything in the bill that they wanted to change (in the GOP motion to recommit). I think that demonstrates that they think it's a pretty good doggone bill."
The Senate might not consider its version of the bill until October, CongressDaily reports (Cohn, CongressDaily, 7/20).