The U.S. Senate passed the huge budget bill Tuesday, and Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says while Democrats were held to the president’s spending limit, they were able to shift the money around to their priorities.
Harkin says they’re 607-million dollars above the president’s budget for the National Institutes for Health, 788-million above the president for low income heating assistance, 77-million above for community health centers — which will allow about 50 new centers, and Harkin says they are above the president’s budget in several education areas including Head Start and teacher quality programs.
Harkin says Iowa will benefit in several areas. He says that includes one-point-four million for wellness grants, four-point-seven million for school construction grants, over half a million dollars for main street renewal grants, and more than 800-thousand dollars to help fight methamphetamine. Harkin has been a constant critic of the president and continued that criticism in his assessment of the budget.
Harkin says,"I really regret the president refused to negotiate and compromise or deal in good faith. I regret that he demands we spend endlessly on his war in Iraq even as he tries to slash essential services and programs here at home But, despite the disappointments, I think we Democrats can take pride in the fact that this omnibus bill in many important ways reflects the values and priorities of the American people."
The House passed its spending bill the day before, and Harkin doesn’t see any problems between the two versions. Harkin says the Senate version of bill is going over to the House today and they should pass it and send it to the president. The Senate also passed a bill Tuesday that extends the program that pays for insurance for low-income children. Harkin says that bill is a good first step in extending the program.