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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., voted in favor of a budget that establishes parameters of spending for the coming year and lays out a blueprint for crucial spending in the nation’s schools, highways and medical system.

The Senate passed the conference report on the 2006 Budget Resolution late last night by a vote of 52-47. The legislation provides $2.56 trillion for fiscal year 2006, cuts deficits in half in less than five years, sets discretionary spending caps, fully funds defense and homeland security and also continues tax relief.

“The budget is a critical tool that can be used to reign in government spending and expansion. This budget funds priorities while also keeping Congress on the right track to pay off deficits and ensuring essential priorities have funding,” said Enzi, a member of the Senate Budget Committee.

The resolution identifies about $97.4 billion for our nation’s schools, about $262 billion in health spending, about $331 billion for Medicare programs, $442 billion dollars for defense, and $73 billion for transportation. The resolution also paves the way for the Congress to pass comprehensive energy legislation and a highway transportation bill later this year.

In addition to setting spending and revenue guidelines, the resolution also puts in place budgeting tools that will help limit the long-term deficit. The resolution also makes it possible for Congress to extend expiring tax provisions, like the dividend and capital gains rate reductions and further provides about $106 billion in tax relief over the next five years.

Enzi, Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said he is looking forward to working with his committee to ensure that the funding guidelines set by the budget are used to help every child, career and college student in America receive a quality education and to provide access to affordable, quality health care for every citizen.

Enzi pointed out that the budget process is the first stage in the spending process. After a budget is agreed upon, the Senate can begin focusing on the authorization and appropriation of funds. Committees of jurisdiction authorize spending for specific programs in their areas during the authorization stage, but its only during the final appropriations stage that actual dollars are allocated to specific programs.

The House also passed the budget conference report on Thursday by a vote of 214-211.