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House Administration Approves Panel Budgets

The House Administration Committee gave the green light to an across-the-board 2.4 percent increase for House committee budgets today, and that measure could be heard on the House floor next week.

Committees appeared before House Administration during an all-day hearing Wednesday seeking big boosts, particularly noting that they need funds to attract specialists in a range of areas, from finance to defense to science.

House Administration Chairwoman Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-Calif.) spent much of her day explaining that the ongoing continuing resolution has seriously limited the amount that could be allotted to the panels.

The bill approved by the committee today provides funds for the committees through Jan. 3, 2009, and limits how much committees can spend each year. Millender-McDonald told committee chairmen and ranking members Wednesday it is possible additional funds could be allocated next year, however.

According to the measure, the Energy and Commerce Committee will receive $25.9 million, the most funds any panel will receive in the 110th Congress. The Oversight and Government Reform panel comes in second, with a budget of $22.9 million, and Ways and Means comes in third, with a budget of $20.1 million.

Ranking member Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.) praised the committees for agreeing to fund two-thirds of their budgets for the majority and one-third for the minority.

— Elizabeth Brotherton

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