House and Senate Agree on Addiction Budget; Veto Expected

From JoinTogether.org:

A House-Senate conference committee has approved a FY2008 budget plan that calls for spending $1.779 billion on the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant and increasing the budgets of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

President Bush is expected to veto the measure, however.

The block-grant funding represents a $20-million increase over the $1.759 million appropriated in FY2007, falling roughly between the figures approved by the House and Senate in their respective budget bills for the Departments of Labor, HHS, and Education. The National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD) reported that the committee bill did not include language tying funding to a set of National Outcome Measures — which many in the field objected to.

The one big budget loser was the state grants portion of the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities program, which conference negotiators decided to fund at $300 milllion, down from $346.5 million in 2007.

President Bush’s veto threat stems from the fact that the budget plan is $9.8 billion more than his request, according to NASADAD. The Labor/HHS funding plan was combined in conference with the budgets for the Veterans’ Affairs department and the Military Construction budget — with supporters betting that Bush would be loathe to veto funding for veterans and the military — but Senate Republicans succeeded in de-linking the funding measures in a floor vote this week, casting the fate of the Labor/HHS bill in further doubt.