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WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement this afternoon after the Fiscal Year 2006 Republican Conference Report on the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill was defeated on the House Floor (209 to 224, with all Democrats voting against). An appropriations conference report has not been defeated on the House Floor since September 1995, when the FY96 Department of Defense funding bill was voted down on a bipartisan vote:
“The Republican bill to fund our nation’s investments in health, education, and other important programs betrayed our nation’s values and its future.
“The fact that the bill failed clearly demonstrates the Republican Party’s misplaced priorities. And it shows that the Republican Party is increasingly in disarray and unable to govern effectively and responsibly.
“At a time when we should be striving to make our students the most competitive in the world, this conference report would have cut our investment in education by $59 million below current levels. It would have frozen Pell grants for college students for the fourth year in a row, even as tuition and fees have increased by 46 percent since 2001.
“It also abandons our commitment to biomedical research, fails our responsibility in the area of public health, and slashes important job training programs.
“The fact of the matter is, the cuts to important programs are the inevitable consequence of the Republican Party’s failed policies, which have spawned record budget deficits and debilitating debt.
“I hope this defeat today on this critical legislation forces the Republican Congress to re-examine its priorities, to come together with Democrats and to produce legislation that really meets the needs of the American people.”