PALLONE SUPPORTS BUDGET THAT INCREASES FUNDING FOR CHILDREN'S HEALTH, EDUCATION & VETERANS
U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, issued the following statement today after supporting a Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 budget resolution that finds balance within the next five years and provides significantly more funding for children's health, education and veterans programs.
"Today, the House of Representatives began the process of restoring fiscal sanity to Washington. For the first time in six years, the House approved a budget that is balanced within the next five years. Despite the president's own comments, his budget proposal would not find its way out of the red during that timeframe. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) the president's budget would still be running a $9 billion deficit five years from now.
"I enthusiastically support this budget resolution for its strong commitment to our children. As the chairman of the subcommittee that is charged with reauthorizing the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), I wholeheartedly support a $50 billion increase in funding that will allow us to insure millions of children who are eligible for SCHIP but who are not currently enrolled. As the number of uninsured children continues to grow, Washington must act. This budget resolution is a strong first step in allowing us to meet our goal of providing quality health care to six million additional children.
"While the president proposed cutting $1.5 billion from education programs over the next year, the Democratic budget provides $3 billion more to fund No Child Left Behind, Head Start and special education. We also provide increased funding for Pell Grants so that high school students know that if they work hard, they can go to college.
"The Democratic budget also provides the largest increase in veterans' health care funding in 77 years, fully meeting our obligations to our veterans. It provides $6.6 billion more than in 2007, which allows us to properly address the VA's increasing patient load by hiring new personnel and improving health care facilities. These historic funding levels will also assist in providing research and treatment for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, who are suffering from traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, mental health problems and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
"This is a fiscally responsible budget that reprioritizes critical domestic needs that have been ignored over the last six years."