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HOUSE AND SENATE ESTABLISH SPENDING GOALS: Senate Total is $11 Billion Higher than House, President Bush’s

Senate and House Appropriations chairmen unveiled this year’s discretionary spending figures for the 13 Appropriations subcommittees and found themselves approximately $11 billion apart. Senate Appropriations Chairman Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) set $770.3 billion as his spending ceiling. House Appropriations Chairman C.W. Bill Young (R-FL) set $759.1 billion as his total, a number about $1 billion larger than the President’s budget request. For the bill funding the departments of Labor, HHS, and Education, the Senate is $6.6 billion over the House total.

With the differences in how much each chamber is willing to spend, it seems likely that Congress will put off making final decisions on spending until after the election, thus allowing both parties to make the case for its own position. Despite the fact that education continues to be the No. 1 priority in many polls, this potential delay could result in far less money for education at the end of the debate. Consequently, the education community will urge Congress to act before it goes home for November elections.

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