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President to Seek Earmark Cuts in Spending Bill that Funds NIH

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The US House of Representatives late yesterday passed an omnibus spending bill that would provide fiscal 2008 funding of $29.2 billion for the National Institutes of Health — $800 million less than Congress had initially sought.
The House sent the bill to the White House to be signed by President George W. Bush, but he will likely seek earmark cuts.
Though the president kept his veto pen holstered today, he said in an end-of-year press conference that he was “disappointed” with the amount of spending in the omnibus budget bill. The President said he would ask White House Budget Director Jim Nussle to review the bill for areas where the administration could propose cuts.
The $29.2 billion in funding for the NIH that the House and Senate passed this week may not be an area where Bush would look to cut, although it is around half a billion dollars more than he asked for in his budget proposal.
The House passed the bill last night with strong Republican support, while Democratic support of the bill had waned compared to an earlier draft. Overall, 194 Republicans voted in favor of this draft of the bill compared to only 78 Democrats. 
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