USA Today Examines Potential Funding Problems for Health Care, Other Programs
Legislators are "struggling to limit spending" on health care and other programs to help provide funding for homeland security programs, the war in Iraq and anti-terrorism initiatives, USA Today reports.
While campaigning President Bush has pledged support for funding some domestic and foreign programs -- as well as low taxes and reduction of the federal deficit --but "Republicans in Congress face the choices required to make it all work," according to USA Today. For example, a House panel voted to provide less funding for community health centers than Bush had requested. Bush's campaign has called for a community health center in every low-income county in the nation.
Robert Brooks -- president of Evergreen Associates, a group that lobbies for health centers in Washington state -- said, "We were delighted when the president announced he'd be making [community health centers] a priority. But it hasn't been treated like a priority."
However, Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) said, "You can't do everything. We've got big increases in defense to pay for, Social Security and Medicare are huge and intact -- that's well more than half the budget."
Robert Reischauer, head of the Urban Institute and former director of the Congressional Budget Office, said, "It's mathematically impossible to fully fund all of the priorities and reduce the deficit. You can't have it both ways." The House and Senate last month passed a defense spending bill, but they are expected to delay votes on the 12 remaining appropriations bills for 2005, USA Today reports (Despeignes, USA Today, 9/22).