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Interim bill continues lab funds

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By Roger Snodgrass

Almost unnoticed in the sound and fury surrounding the financial bailout legislation over the weekend, the Senate passed a continuing resolution to fund a number of federal agencies, including the Department of Energy and its national laboratories.

Los Alamos National Laboratory, facing some significant cuts in a House version of the energy appropriations bill, will continue operating for five months at roughly the same level as last year.

As usual, important details of how the status quo will affect individual programs will be worked out, as the fiscal year begins. The extension is effective until March 6.

The catch-all funding measure totaling $630 million was packaged in a cluster of spending measures for Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, Defense (apart from the wars) and Military Construction.

But, along with those items, it also included $23 billion for hurricane relief and $25 billion in loan guarantees for automakers, among other extras.

Approved in the Senate by a 78-12 vote, the bill was sent to President George Bush to sign before funding runs out today for the current fiscal year.


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