Screw Prevention and Treatment, War Is Where It's At

House-Senate approve treatment funds, only to face Bush veto threat.

Join Together, the drug prevention and treatment gurus at the Boston University School of Public Health, reports that a House-Senate conference committee has voted to approve an increase in fiscal year '08 funding for the substance abuse and treatment block grant and to increase the budgets of several prevention and treatment-related entities – including the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.

Block grant funding is slated to get a $20 million increase under the approved budget plan, while CSAT would receive an $18.4 million budget bump – for a total 2008 budget of $417.3 million. The institute’s budget would get an extra $25 million infusion, bringing its budget to just more than $1 billion. The only program slated to lose funding in the approved budget is the Drug-Free Schools and Communities program, which would lose approximately $46 million in funding, for a total budget of around $300 million, JT reports.

Nonetheless, President George W. Bush is expected to veto the budget plan because it calls for funding $9.8 billion more than was included in his budget request, according to the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors. The expected veto has drawn the ire of some lawmakers who apparently consider Bush little more than a fiscally irresponsible boob.

“It is clear that after the president has followed a course of greater fiscal irresponsibility than any president in history. … He is now desperately trying to shore up his remaining strength on the far political right by engaging in an unnecessary diversion of a fight over this year’s appropriations bills,” Rep. David Obey, D-Wisc., chair of the House Appropriations Committee, told the National Press Club last week. “It is simply not credible for the president to ask us to spend 10 times as much again this year for the never-ending war in Iraq and then, with a straight face, object to our efforts to invest one-tenth of that amount in key education, health, science, law enforcement, energy research, and medical research on the grounds of fiscal rectitude.” Indeed.

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