House Passes Budget
November 18, 1999
Today U.S. Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn (8th
Dist.-Wash.) announced that the combined spending and Medicare
package, passed in the U.S. House of Representatives 296 to 135,
will improve the quality of life of Washingtonians.
The budget agreement improves education by providing more
resources for state and local governments struggling to meet the
education demands in their communities. More importantly, it
provides some flexibility so that school boards don't have to spend
the money in the way Washington, D.C., directs them. "This ensures
that no child will be left behind as we enter the new millennium,"
This package continues the commitment to pay down the debt. For
the first time since 1969, last year Congress paid down $51 billion
of the national debt. This year Congress paid down another $88
billion. "A lower national debt means lower interest rates, which
helps families afford a home in which to raise their children," said
In addition, Congress kept its promise to seniors and future
generations by putting a firewall between the Social Security Trust
Fund and other government spending programs. "After 39 years of
raiding this system to feed the appetite of government, it is time
to honor our commitment to retirees," said Dunn. The agreement also
includes an across-the-board spending cut to root out wasteful
Two provisions Congresswoman Dunn championed were included in the
Medicare portion of the combined spending and Medicare bill. First,
the legislation increases the national pap smear reimbursement rate
from $7.15 to $14.60 and expands the program to cover new
technologies for pap smear test systems.
"I am grateful that Congress recognized the importance of
preventative health care for women. Increasing the reimbursement
rate for pap smears will ensure that women continue to have access
to affordable, quality screenings," said Dunn. "Expanding Medicare
to include innovative pap smear technologies will soon make this
early-detection measure both easier to afford and more reliable.
This early indicator will help save lives and give hope to the
15,000 women who are annually diagnosed with cervical cancer."
Second, the budget agreement also guarantees the continued
operation of an important Puget Sound AIDS facility, the Bailey
Boushay House. The bill increases the reimbursement that Bailey
Boushay House receives to treat the 32 percent of their patients who
receive Medicare benefits. "The support that Congress has shown to
those who live with AIDS is gratifying. Now they may continue to
receive the high quality care that the Bailey Boushay House
provides," said Congresswoman Dunn.