Senate looks to slim HSS budget

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Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a spending bill that reduces the 2006 fiscal budget for the HHS' Office of the National Coordinator for Information Technology that is less than President Bush had requested. The new bill drops funding to $42.5 million from $75 million for the office.

In President Bush's plan, the requested amount was $125 million for health IT, including a $50 million in continuation Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) funding as well as $75 million for the coordinator's office.

Complicating matters, the House has already passed a budget with the full requested amounts from Bush's proposal. The way it appears now, a conference committee will have to iron out the funding differences at some point this year.