Senate passes 2008 spending bill for Labor, Education, HHS

The Senate passed a $606 billion appropriations bill Tuesday night to provide funding in fiscal 2008 to the Labor, Education and Health and Human Services departments, and several independent agencies, including the Social Security Administration. The measure passed by a vote of 75-19, enough to override a promised veto by President Bush.

“The legislation spends billions more than what is needed to effectively run these agencies and will make balancing the federal budget more difficult,” a White House spokesman said. If Bush is presented with the bill in its current form, he will veto it, the spokesman added.

Of the $606 billion, $149.9 is discretionary spending, which is $9.6 billion more than the administration proposed and a $5.4 billion increase over fiscal 2007.

The Senate bill provides $1.9 billion less in discretionary spending than the House version, a difference that must be reconciled in a conference.

“The Senate tonight passed a strong, fiscally responsible bill that will fund important priorities neglected by President Bush and Republican Congresses over the past six years,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

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