Vote Nears on Spending Bill With Health Funds Increases
The Senate on Tuesday voted 71-26 to limit debate on a $463.5 billion fiscal year 2007 omnibus appropriations bill that includes increased funds for health programs, with a final vote expected on Wednesday, the AP/Washington Times reports (AP/Washington Times, 2/14). The legislation, which the House approved last month, would fund most federal agencies until Sept. 30, the end of FY 2007.
The bill would increase funds for NIH by $619 million and funds for health care for veterans by $3.6 billion. In addition, the legislation would increase funds for health and education programs by $2.3 billion and funds for community health centers by $207 million.
Congress last year approved two of 11 FY 2007 appropriations bills and passed a continuing resolution to fund most federal agencies at FY 2006 levels that expires on Feb. 15 (California Healthline, 2/9).
A spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that the Senate would vote on final passage of the omnibus appropriations bill on Wednesday, one day before the CR expires.
According to CQ Today, by "waiting until just before the deadline, Reid has essentially made it impossible for Republicans to vote against the measure without being susceptible to criticism that they voted to shut down the government."
Senate Republicans have criticized Reid for the use of a parliamentary procedure called "filling the amendment tree" to prevent amendments to the legislation (Higa, CQ Today, 2/13).