House Approves Transportation, Housing Measure

AP – The GOP-controlled House on Tuesday passed a huge bill providing money for transportation and housing programs despite protests from Democrats that the $105 billion measure shortchanges transit projects, Amtrak and rent subsidies for the poor.

The House passed the bill on a 229-192 vote, capping a busy day as lawmakers worked their way through the annual spending bills funding line-by-line agency budgets. It came hours after the Democratic-led Senate Appropriations Committee unveiled a $158 billion measure funding the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.

The Senate measure more than doubles, to $1.9 billion, funding to care for the wave of unaccompanied immigrant children fleeing drug and gang violence in Central American countries like Guatemala and El Salvador. It also adds money for health research, Head Start and child care grants, as well as reviews of Social Security disability claims.

A Senate subcommittee approved the measure by voice vote, though Republicans oppose it for funding implementation of the new health care law. It rejects administration-sought cuts to heating aid and grants to nonprofit community action agencies that help the poor, and awards a sizable increase to community health centers.

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