Congress passes healthcare funding within massive spending bill

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When Congress approved a $388 billion omnibus spending bill on Saturday, it assured numerous healthcare programs would receive funding in fiscal 2005.

The Senate approved the 14-pound, 1,000-page bill by a 65-30 vote after the House had passed it 344-51. Nine different spending bills were bundled in the megabill.
 
The bill would double, to $100 million, funding to help make sure that enough flu vaccine is available in the future. Funds were included for research and development, among other uses.
 
Also included was $1.4 billion more in discretionary funds than the Bush administration had requested, partly to expand programs for veterans. One provision that was cut from the final bill would have made it easier to reimport prescription drugs from Canada.