House panel releases $358B, partly for healthcare IT

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Healthcare IT gets closer to influx of funds. Image Source: GE Healthcare

A portion of President Barack Obama's recovery program advanced through the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday with a 35-22 party-line vote of approval to spend $358 billion on a blend of public works programs, including investments in healthcare IT systems.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told the Philadelphia Inquirer that Obama is making an effort at bipartisanship by meeting with the congressional leaders from both parties on Friday and with House Republicans next week.

The House voted Jan. 22 to block the release of the remaining financial bailout funds, reflecting deep public antipathy for the bailout program, which Congress set up last fall at the request of the Bush administration, reported the Inquirer.

House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., who supported releasing the funds, questioned the purpose of Thursday’s vote.

"Why are we still voting on it?" he asked. "Because there is a degree of anger in the American public at what they think is a very unfair system that gives benefits unduly and disproportionately to some of those who caused the problem, while denying healthcare and unemployment compensation and a decent higher education for working-class people."