H.R.___ – Department of Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2005
Appropriations Committee Ranking Democrat Dave Obey is expected to offer an amendment that will outline Democratic priorities in this important bill. It likely will be similar to Mr. Obey's substitute that he offered in Full Committee and Subcommittee that was defeated on party lines. That substitute would have increased spending on Democratic priorities by $7.3 billion, paid for by a 30 percent reduction in the tax cuts received by people with annual incomes over $1 million as a result of the 2001 and 2003 tax legislation.
In addition, Mr. Obey is expected to offer an amendment to prevent the implementation of the final overtime regulations (except for the provisions that expand overtime protections for low-income workers). These rules went into effect on August 23.
• This bill includes $120 million less for No Child Left Behind programs than Bush's budget request. This is a $9.5 Billion underfunding (which is a $25 Billion cumulative shortfall).
• The maximum Pell Grant is still frozen at $4,050.
• The National Institutes of Health receives the President's request level ($28.53 B) which is only a 2.6% increase over FY 04. This amount is not enough to keep up with medical inflation and will force NIH to lose momentum on the scientific progress they gained from the doubling in funding it has received.
• Head Start is cut $45 million below the President's request. (The Bush request was a modest $124 million or 2.6% above FY 04).