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Senate Avoids Spending Bill Showdown Over FDA

From Associated Press

The Senate passed a $100-billion spending bill for agriculture, food and drug programs, averting debate over emergency contraception and other controversies.

“This is not the last word on this issue,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who had sought to cut millions of dollars from the Food and Drug Administration’s budget because of its refusal to allow over-the-counter sales of the morning-after pill called Plan B.

Senators ultimately decided not to offer controversial amendments from Murray and others, sparing colleagues from having to vote on issues that might make their reelections next year more difficult.

The vote for the bill was 97-2, with Sens. John Ensign (R-Nev.) and John E. Sununu (R-N.H.) voting no.

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Now, congressional negotiators must reconcile the House and Senate versions of the spending bill, which funds the Agriculture Department, FDA and related agencies.

Absent from the bill is a $3.1-billion spending cut for farm programs that Congress ordered this year. Agriculture committees plan to decide next month how to make the cut.


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