Congress Approves Fiscally Responsible Budget
WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Senate today voted 52-40 to pass the fiscal year 2008 budget. The budget resolution, which Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) supported, provides a spending blueprint for important domestic priorities, including: children's health insurance, affordable housing, veterans health care, and student financial aid. The budget includes: - Up to $50 billion to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). - A provision championed by Reed to help establish an affordable housing fund financed by government-sponsored enterprises. - $43.1 billion for discretionary veteran's programs that will ensure veteran's programs, including veteran's health, are adequately funded. - A pathway for expanding access to higher education through enhanced student aid, including increased funding for Pell Grants. Following final passage, Senator Reed issued the following statement: "This budget resolution provides funding for essential programs that improve the lives of hardworking Americans who have been struggling during this sluggish economic recovery. "This budget is a strong and sensible blueprint that will go a long way toward preserving health care coverage for those who need it most. It wisely seeks to expand SCHIP so we cover more kids and families who need health insurance. "It also demonstrates our commitment to America's veterans. The increase in this budget will bring us closer to where we need to be to provide adequate care for all the veterans who need it. "This budget also confronts America's growing affordable housing crisis. I will be proposing legislation that will not only deepen and broaden Fannie and Freddie's affordable housing goals, but will require them to set aside money to support an affordable housing fund. This affordable housing fund will provide grants for the production, preservation, and rehabilitation of affordable housing for very low-income families. This fund will be constructed so that it is deficit neutral, and to provide the layer of subsidy needed to make affordable housing deals work for these families. "With college tuition continuing to rise, Pell Grants need to keep pace. This budget puts us on the path to increasing the maximum Pell Grant. "This budget will help us to start cleaning up the Bush Administration's fiscal mess and get our financial house in order," concluded Reed. "I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee to craft balanced, responsible spending bills."