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(Washington, D.C.) - Today U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) helped the Senate pass a budget resolution for Fiscal Year 2008 that invests in key priorities including education, healthcare, port security and veterans. Murray helped craft the budget as the number two Democrat on the Senate Budget Committee. Senator Murray spoke on the Senate floor in support of the budget on Wednesday (3/23).

"After years of painful cuts at home, we've finally passed a budget that will make our communities stronger," Murray said. "And we did it the right way - without burdening our children with new debt."

The Budget Resolution sets the broad blueprint for all federal spending. Now that the resolution has passed the Senate, it will be reconciled with the House version. Once the House and Senate agree on a final version, the 12 Senate appropriations subcommittees can begin designating specific levels of funding for individual programs. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Murray will play a key role in that process.

The budget resolution makes the following investments:

Education: Biggest Increase in Elementary and Secondary Education in 5 Years

  • Increases education funding by $4.3 billion over last year and provides $9.2 billion more than the President's budget.

  • Increases funding for Head Start by $500 million over the President's budget.

  • Restores funding the President had cut for: the LEAP Program (Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnerships), Perkins Loans, and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (grants for low-income students)

  • Pell Grants: increases the maximum Pell Grant to at least $4,600 per student in 2008.

Healthcare: Provides Health Insurance for 6 Million Additional Low-Income Children

  • Provides up to $50 billion for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) over 5 years. (An increase of $35 billion over the President's request).

  • Provides $2.6 billion for Community Health Centers - $536 million more than FY 2007 and $575 million more than the President's request.

Veterans: Provides $43.1 Billion for Veterans' Care.

  • Increases funding for veterans by $3.5 billion over the President's proposal.

  • Funds 98% of the Independent Budget, which is devised by veterans service organizations

  • Rejects the higher fees and co-payments that the President had proposed, which would have forced more than 100,000 veterans to leave the VA health system.

Port Security: Fully-Funds Port Security Grants for FY 2008

  • Provides $400 million ($190 million more than the President proposed) for Port Security Grants. This budget fully funds the amount authorized in the SAFE Ports Act, which Murray co-wrote and enacted last year.

Community Development - Increases CDBG Funding

  • Funds the Community Development Block Grant program at the inflation-adjusted level of $3.8 billion. The President wanted to cut the program by $807 million.

Law Enforcement: Saves the COPS Program

  • The President cut the COPS program. This budget puts in $552 million.