President Bush’s budget request for Fiscal Year 2008 insisted on more and more money for Iraq, but less and less funding for critical investments here at home. Throughout the year, Democrats fought for the priorities of middle-class American families: homeland security, education, energy independence, employment and job training services, veterans’ heath care, law enforcement, medical research, infrastructure investments, affordable housing, and consumer safety. President Bush and congressional Republicans, who have the worst record of fiscal responsibility in American history, spent freely on the Iraq War, but blocked needed funding in the areas that matter most to the American people.
Despite President Bush’s repeated veto threats and refusal to negotiate in good faith, Democrats were able to pass a Fiscal Year 2008 appropriations bill that improved upon the President’s misguided budget priorities.
Here are examples of Democratic increases above the President’s budget request:
· $3.7 billion more for veterans’ health care to fully fund the top quality care that our nation’s veterans deserve;
· $607 millionmore for medical research for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, and heart disease;
· $3 billion more for education to support key priorities, including Title I grants for K-12 education, Head Start, special education, vocational education, and financial aid to make college more affordable;
· $486 million more for energy independence efforts to fund renewable energy and energy efficiency programs;
· $788 million more for energy assistance to help low-income families and seniors cope with winter and skyrocketing home energy prices;
· $1.6 billionmore for highways and bridges, including $631 million more to improve our nation’s highways and $1 billion more to repair aging bridges;
· $1.2 billion more for law enforcement for state and local law enforcement grants and Community Organized Policing Services (COPS);
· $1.8 billion more for homeland securityto fund programs including state and local first responder grants and training;
· $17 million more for consumer safety to improve the ability of the Consumer Product Safety Commission to safeguard consumers against dangerous products;
· $2 billion more for housing and community development activities,including $960 million more for Section 8 tenant-based and project-based housing vouchers; $180 billion more for foreclosure avoidance/mitigation assistance; and $618 million more for Community Development Block Grants; and
· $722 million more for employment and training programs, including more funding for community service employment for older workers, international labor affairs, mine safety, and job corps.