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House passes budget

House passes controversial, partisan budget bill by 6 votes – no Dems supported.

House Approves $39.7 Billion Spending Cut
House Approves $39.7 Billion Spending Cut
Authority Also Granted to Open Alaskan Wilderness to Oil Drilling
By Jonathan Weisman and Shailagh Murray
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, December 19, 2005; 1:54 PM
In a bleary, pre-dawn vote today, the House narrowly passed a sweeping, five-year budget plan for cutting spending for Medicare and other entitlement programs by $39.7 billion, shortly after voting to open the Alaskan wilderness to oil drilling.
The final budget deal envisions more than $10 billion in savings over 10 years by allowing states to raise co-payments and deductibles for many recipients of Medicaid, the state and federal health program for the poor. An additional $6.1 billion in savings would come from health-benefit reductions, according to Congressional Budget Office documents.
Tens of thousands of low-income Americans are likely to lose health coverage under the measure, and many millions will face premiums, deductibles and co-payments for the first time, said Jocelyn Guyer, senior program director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.
Negotiators bowed to White House pressure and dropped a Senate-passed provision that would have saved billions of dollars by eliminating a fund set up to lure private insurance companies into the Medicare prescription drug program. But another private-insurance subsidy was dropped to save $6.5 billion.
The final deal would shave $1.5 billion over five years from child support enforcement aid to local governments, down from the House-passed $5 billion level.
Stringent new work requirements for welfare recipients could shift considerable costs onto state governments. The CBO estimates that state governments may have to spend $8.4 billion over the next five years to finance welfare-to-work programs to meet the new requirements.
And in one of the most controversial provisions, the agreement would shave $12.7 billion out of the federal student loan program, in large part by locking in interest rates often at a higher level than the current variable rates.

Filed under: Economics

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