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House Fails to Override Bush Veto on HHS Budget Bill to Increase NIH Spending

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The US House of Representatives in a late session late last week voted not to override President Bush’s veto of a large appropriations bill that would raise 2008 funding marked for the National Institutes of Health to $30 billion.
Current funding is at $28.5 billion, and the President in his budget asked for $28.7 billion, an increase that would not keep pace with biomedical inflation, according to the Association for the Advancement for Sciences, which tracks federal research funding.
Bush sent the bill back to Congress with the chide that the legislation was loaded with irresponsible spending. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Bush felt the bill, which would provide funding for the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the Departments of Labor and Education, would spend over $10 billion more than the amount he had wanted.
After a vote that nearly achieved the two-thirds majority necessary to override a presidential veto, with representatives voting 277 for and 114 against, HR 3043 will not become law until some compromise is reached between the House, Senate and White House.
That leaves the NIH, along with the other bodies funded by HHS and the departments of Labor and Education, operating on interim funding until the new budget is passed.
With the arrival of the Thanksgiving break coming up it seems unlikely the bill will be sent back to the Senate and White House until December.

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