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$105-Billion Spending Measure Passed by Congress; Funding for AIDS Doubled

December 07, 1985|SARA FRITZ | Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Friday gave final congressional approval to a $105.8-billion spending bill for the departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services that more than doubles the current funding for research and other programs designed to combat the spread of AIDS.

The action preceded Senate consideration of a $489-billion stopgap spending bill designed to keep the government running after next Thursday, when current funding of many other agencies expires. President Reagan has threatened to veto the stopgap bill.

In addition, the Senate approved by voice vote an $11.9-billion bill for the departments of State, Commerce and Justice. The measure retains funding for three agencies that the President originally tried to eliminate--the Economic Development Administration, the Legal Services Corp. and the Small Business Administration.

$230 Million for AIDS

The funding measure for Labor, Education and Health and Human Services, also approved by voice vote, provides $230 million for AIDS programs--up from $100 million in fiscal 1985. It also would authorize the surgeon general to close down public bathhouses if they are found to be linked to the spread of the disease.

Although Reagan is expected to sign both departmental funding measures, Sen. Mark O. Hatfield (R-Ore.) told the Senate that the White House is "anxious to find an excuse" to veto the stopgap measure funding those agencies for which Congress has not yet appropriated any money. The Administration contends that the bill provides too much for social programs and too little for defense.

Sees Short-Term Measure

As a result of the veto threat, Hatfield predicted that congressional leaders will be forced to abandon work on this stopgap bill next week and instead enact an extremely short-term measure designed to keep the government running just until Congress returns in January from its Christmas recess.

Despite Hatfield's warning that the stopgap bill might never be enacted into law, many senators proceeded with plans to offer their pet amendments. One such amendment, sponsored by Sen. Howard M. Metzenbaum (D-Ohio), would have stripped the Synthetic Fuels Corp. of its funds to develop alternative energy sources. It was defeated by a vote of 43 to 40.

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