DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008--VETO MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES -- (House of Representatives - November 15, 2007)
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Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of this veto override.
The conference report includes funding for many important programs and I am disappointed that the President has vetoed it. I recognize that the conferees had a challenging task in shaping the report because of budget constraints, but Congress did a good job balancing critical health, education and labor needs with the tight budget.
This conference report provides much needed funding for health, education and labor programs for the nation and for Colorado. For example, included in the overall increase for the Department of Health and Human Services is an increase in funding for essential research at the National Institute of Health (NIH) to increasing health care access in rural areas, as well as additional funding for the Center for Disease Control (CDC). It also includes critical funding increases for several important education programs, including No Child Left Behind, Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), and Pell Grants. I am also pleased the labor provisions of this report reflect a new direction and commitment to expanding job training and enhancing the safety of workers, by increasing funding for a number of employment, education, and protection programs for the American workforce.
I am encouraged that the report includes an increase in funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP is a critical program that helps many Colorado families, who are struggling to get by, avoid having to make choices between paying their heating bill and putting food on the table. The conference report will increase funding for this program by $250 million over the fiscal year 2007 budget.
There are also critical Colorado-specific funds in the report. The report contains funding for Children's Hospital of Denver to help build the North Campus Ambulatory Surgery Center, which will broaden access to pediatric care in the north Denver metro area. This new development will also add more convenient alternative to patients, families, pediatricians, and physicians while also decreasing the burden on other health centers in the Denver metro area.
It also contains funding for Avista Hospital, a leader in the Electronic Medical Record field, to help Avista continue to implement a cutting edge system.
The funding for programs included in this report is a cause for celebration, not a veto. The President's budget request underfunded many of these critical programs and I am pleased that Congress has crafted a much better appropriations plan. While I am disappointed in the President's veto of the conference report, I am encouraged that we are attempting to override that veto today. This report is good for Colorado, good for the country and I encourage my colleagues to support it.
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