Senate Democrats

Highlights of the FY ’08 Consolidated Appropriations Bill

Democrats have made our priorities clear; increasing veterans’ health care funding, expanding college aid and funding the fight against terrorism. But President Bush has very different priorities; more and more funding for Iraq but less funding for investments here at home, like our aging infrastructure, officers on the street and medical research.  

The FY ’08 Consolidated Appropriations bill illustrates these different priorities and makes important investments here at home. Here are the highlights of the Consolidated Appropriations bill:

For the First Time, the Consolidated Appropriations Bill Fully Funds Veterans Health Care, Boosting Veterans Spending By $3.7 Billion. By including the additional $3.7 billion above the President’s request, Congress has for the first time ever provided funding in line with the Independent Budget, which is authored each year by veterans’ organizations. The Independent Budget lays out a spending blueprint by veterans’ organizations for how to provide adequate resources to care for our nation’s veterans. [Disabled American Veterans Press Release, 12/17/07]

  • White House Called Veterans Spending Above the President’s Request “Excessive.” The White House Statement of Administration Policy calls the spending levels in the Senate’s Veterans Affairs appropriations bill (S. 1645) “excessive,” noting that the bill provided $3.6 billion for veterans than the President requested. [Statement of Administration Policy, 9/4/07]

Consolidated Appropriations Bill Invests in Pell Grants and Student Aid. While the President’s budget cuts Pell Grants by $246 million and cuts other student aid programs by $900 million, the consolidated appropriations bill rejects those cuts. Instead, it invests $801 million above the President’s request for Pell Grants, and an additional $900 million above the President’s request for programs like Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Perkins Loans and LEAP, preserving assistance for roughly one million students. [House Appropriations Committee, 12/17/07]

Consolidated Appropriations Bill Boosts Medical Research to Find Life-Saving Cures for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Cancer and Heart Disease. The President’s budget cut Medical Research into disease like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer and heart disease at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $480 million. The consolidated appropriations bill rejects those cuts, and instead provides $613 million above his request for this crucial, life-saving research. [House Appropriations Committee, 12/17/07]

President’s Budget Underfunds Transportation While Consolidated Appropriations Bill Boosts Transportation Funding by $631 Million, Provides Additional $1 Billion to Repair Bridges.  The President’s budget shortchanges funding to improve our nation’s highways, providing $631 million less than the level provided in the transportation bill he signed into law just 2 years ago.  The consolidated appropriations bill rejects that approach, providing $631 million above his request, to improve and maintain our nation’s aging highway infrastructure, and provides an additional $1 billion above his request to address aging bridges throughout the nation. [House Appropriations Committee, 12/17/07]

Consolidated Appropriations Bill Invests in Local Law Enforcement Programs. While the President’s budget cuts the COPS program by 94%, the consolidated appropriations bill rejects that cut, providing $555 million above his request for local law enforcement program. Additionally, the bill would provide $20 million for the “COPS on the Beat” hiring program, a proven program not funded since 2005. [House Appropriations Committee, 12/17/07]

Consolidated Appropriations Bill Increases Funding for First Responders. Under the President’s budget, Homeland Security Grants would be cut by $1.1 billion. The consolidated appropriations bill rejects those cuts, by providing $1.8 billion above his request. The additional funding would go to State Grants, including law enforcement ($950 million), Urban Area Grants ($820 million), Transit Grants ($400 million), Emergency Management Performance Grants ($300 million), Fire Grants (including SAFER) ($750 million), Metropolitan Medical Response System ($41 million), Interoperable Communications Grants ($50 million), and Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grants ($35 million). [House Appropriations Committee, 12/17/07]

Consolidated Appropriations Bill Expands Access to Health Care.  The President’s budget proposes a $595 million cut to a key agency responsible for improving access to health care (the Health Resources and Services Administration).  The consolidated appropriations bill rejects that cut, providing $1.1 billion above the President’s request. [House Appropriations Committee, 12/17/07]

Consolidated Appropriations Bill Reduces Dependence on Foreign Oil in a Way that Cuts Greenhouse Gas Emissions.  The Bill rejects the President’s proposed $238 million cut and provides $486 million above his request for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, such as solar energy, biofuels and vehicle technology. [House Appropriations Committee, 12/17/07]

Consolidated Appropriations Bill Restores Cuts to Head Start, Ensuring High Quality Preschool Services. The President’s budget cuts Head Start by $100 million. The consolidated appropriations bill rejects that cut, providing $114 million above his request, to help sustain high quality preschool services for children currently enrolled in Head Start. [House Appropriations Committee, 12/17/07]

Consolidated Appropriations Bill Rejects the President’s Cuts to Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, Increasing Funding by $788 Million.  Instead of cutting Energy Assistance for low-income families, as proposed by the President’s budget, the consolidate appropriations bill provides $788 million above his request. This increased funding will help two million more low-income families and seniors cope with an anticipated colder winter and a 28 percent increase in home energy prices compared to last year. [House Appropriations Committee, 12/17/07]

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