Sens. Elizabeth Dole (R., N.C.) and Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) were among a group that made a request for $13 million to fund those initiatives in the bill that passed the Senate.
"These programs are in a sense a casualty of the major reduction in spending for what is defined as 'domestic programs,'" said Auggie Tantillo, executive director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition. "It is a good news-bad news scenario for the industry. The good news is [the programs] survived a very difficult budget year by being included in this package, which is a testament to the strong political support for these programs. The bad news, of course, is the funding is roughly one-third less than what they had been operating on in recent years."
The omnibus bill kept in place funding desired by Democrats for improvements to the interstate highway system, providing $40 billion in the coming fiscal year, $631 million more than Bush requested — $1.1 billion above 2007 spending levels.
The bill would prohibit the use of funds to allow Mexican-base trucks to operate beyond the commercial zones in the U.S., which Bush has tried to implement for years. The administration has gone ahead with the program anyway, using existing funds from the Department of Transportation that could allow as many as 100 Mexican carriers to send trucks to the U.S. for a year.