House passes $260 Pell Grant increase

Published February 1, 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) - The House passed a $463.5 billion spending bill yesterday that covers about one-sixth of the federal budget as Democrats cleared away the financial mess they inherited from Republicans.

Before the 286-140 vote, Republicans made modest objections to Democrats' spending decisions but protested greatly over how the new majority muscled the measure through the House, which includes a $260 boost, to $4,310, in the maximum Pell Grant for low-income college students.

Democrats said the legislation would increase spending on education, veterans, health research and grants to state and local law enforcement agencies. Among the trade-offs were cuts to President Bush's budget requests for NASA, foreign aid and aid for communities affected by the latest round of military base closings.

The measure heads to the Senate, which is expected to pass it before a Feb. 15 deadline to avoid a partial government shutdown. President Bush has signaled he will sign the budget bill.

The powerful veterans' lobby won a $3.6 billion increase from the House for medical care.

State and local law enforcement agencies would gain more money for grants for new equipment and hiring officers.

Community development block grants, however, were frozen at current levels, as was aid for the Amtrak.