On November 17, Democrats and 22 Republicans in the House of Representatives teamed up to reject a spending proposal that reduced spending in health and education programs. The proposal included basically flat funding at the National Institutes of Health which results in a funding cut due to biomedical inflation. [In contrast, the Senate proposed a 3.7% increase for NIH](http://www.c-three.org/advocacy/2005/11/labor-hhs_conferees_begin_fy_2.php).
The defeat was a surprise to Republican leaders in the House and Senate, and left them scratching their heads to figure out how to proceed. Democrats celebrated the defeat, saying that the proposal gave inadequate funding to key priorities.
According to Congress Daily, â€œRepublicans were considering options that include sending the bill back to conference, where conferees could attempt to craft a bill that would muster a majority; attaching it to another piece of appropriations legislation or passing a continuing resolution that would fund programs at the lower end of last year’s or this year’s levels.â€
A continuing resolution â€“ which doesnâ€™t take biomedical inflation into account – would reduce funding for programs by $1.6 billion.
Both the House and Senate stopped work on November 18 for a long Thanksgiving break. The House returned on December 6, and the Senate will return on December 12. At that point, Congress will continue work on this and other outstanding legislation.