Legislative Action Team Advisory

Friday, March 24, 2006

House Budget Amendment Pending

The House Budget Committee is expected to begin working on their spending/revenue plan starting March 29th. It is anticipated that the following week will see the measure on the House floor. Represenative DeLauro (D-CT) has said that she will offer an amendment to restore cuts to education, health and labor programs.The Labor-HHS- ED appropriations bill funds the federal programs that keep America competitive and provide health, education, and job opportunities to those who need it most. But those programs are in danger under the President’s proposed FY07 budget, which would slash $4.2 billion from the FY06 Labor-HHS-ED bill and is $7 billion below the level in the FY05 bill. Just as in the Senate the Specter-Harkin amendment, the DeLauro amendment restores those cuts by providing an additional $7 billion over the President’s budget request – allowing Congress to fund the FY07 Labor-HHS-ED bill at the level enacted two years ago, in FY05. Funding is provided by increasing the cap on FY08 advance appropriations by $7 billion.Key Labor-HHS-ED programs that are endangered by the President’s budgetEducation Programs: The President’s budget eliminates 42 programs, including all the vocational and technical education programs, Educational Technology State Grants, GEAR UP, Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities State Grants, TRIO Talent Search and Upward Bound.Student Financial Aid: The President’s budget freezes the maximum Pell Grant award at $4,050, the same amount as four years ago, while tuition costs have risen dramatically.National Institutes of Health: The President’s budget cuts funding for 18 of the 19 institutes at NIH. Funding for cancer research would be cut by $40 million.Human Services for the Poor: The President’s budget cuts the Social Services Block Grant by $500 million and completely eliminates the Community Services Block Grant.The Senate budget resolution says it has more funding for health and education than the President’s budget does. Yet it includes the same total amount for discretionary spending. Therefore, there is no guarantee that the alleged health and education increases will ever materialize in the Labor-HHS-ED appropriations bill. The only way to ensure more funding for Labor-HHS programs is to add money to the total spending level.Every health, education, and job training program will benefit under this amendment. If Congress has to write a Labor-HHS-ED appropriations bill that’s $4.2 billion lower than last year, as the President has proposed, every program is in danger of being reduced or eliminated. Restoring funding to the FY05 level will make it possible to save programs that are on the President’s chopping block and provide increases for key health, education and workforce initiatives.


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