WASHINGTON – President Bush signed into law a $388 billion legislative package Wednesday that covers the spending of every federal agency but the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security.
Congress passed the package Nov. 20. It covers spending in the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. Lawmakers had delayed sending it to the White House until Tuesday after they overturned language that would have made it easier for some members of Congress and their aides to enter Internal Revenue Service (search) offices and see income tax returns.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the president was not troubled by the billions of dollars in special-interest measures added onto the bill by lawmakers.
"The fact that members of Congress worked together with us to meet our highest priorities and show spending restraint elsewhere in the budget is an important step in the president's hopes of reducing the deficit," McClellan said.
Here are the highlights of the bill. The figures do not include effects of an across-the-board cut of at least 0.8 percent imposed on programs throughout the bill, part of a last-minute deal to pay for some of the measure's increases.
— Education: $59.7 billion, $1.4 billion over last year and $300 million below President Bush's request. Aid to low-income school districts $12.8 billion, $500 million below Bush but $500 million more than last year. Grants for improving teacher quality $1.5 billion, 0.7 percent over last year. Aid for disabled students $11.8 billion, 5.4 percent over last year.
— Transportation: Overall $59 billion, $1.1 billion over last year and $1 billion more than Bush requested. Highway construction gets $34.7 billion, $1 billion over last year and over Bush's proposal. Federal Aviation Administration gets $10.4 billion, $100 million over last year. Amtrak gets $1.2 billion, the same as last year.
— Foreign aid: $19.5 billion, $2 billion over last year and $1.8 billion below Bush's request. Total $2.9 billion for fighting AIDS in poor countries, $100 million more than Bush wanted.
— State Department: $8.3 billion, a $554 million cut from 2004. Embassy security would grow by 17 percent to $612 million.
— Land and cultural programs: The Interior Department will get $9.9 billion, nearly $100 million less than Bush wanted and 0.4 percent more than 2004. National parks operating money goes up 6 percent, but money for buying park lands remains nearly two-thirds below the peak of three years ago.
— Health and social programs: Maternal and child health gets $896 million, 0.7 percent over last year. AIDS (search) programs get almost $2.1 billion, 1.2 percent over last year. National Institutes of Health get $28.5 billion, 3.1 percent over last year, one of its smallest increases in years. Energy assistance for low income families $2.2 billion, 4 percent over last year.
— Veterans: Veterans' health care programs will get $30.3 billion, $1.9 billion over last year and $1.2 billion more than Bush wanted.
— Housing, urban affairs: $37.3 billion, 1.6 percent below last year and 1.4 percent over Bush's request.
— Justice Department: $20.9 billion, $1 billion over last year. FBI gets $5.2 billion, almost a 14 percent increase over last year. Aid to state and local law enforcement agencies is $1.3 billion, $90 million below last year.
— Environmental Protection Agency (search): $8.1 billion, 3.3 percent below last year but 3.8 percent over Bush.
— National Aeronautics and Space Administration (search): $16.2 billion, or 5.3 percent over last year.
— Postal Service: Bill includes $507 million for equipment to detect biohazards and to build a postal facility in Washington, D.C., to irradiate mail to destroy possible biological contamination.
— Congress: $3.6 billion, $43 million over last year. Capitol Police get $232 million, $13 million over last year. No funds provided for continuing construction of Capitol Visitors' Center, which is running well over budget and has money left over from previous years.
— Abortion: A provision in the bill would block any of the money from going to federal, state or local agencies that act against health care providers and insurers because they don't provide abortions, make abortion referrals or cover them. The Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Civil Liberties Union criticized the provision, saying it discriminates against women seeking abortions.