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Senate to mull tech spending bills

Senate Appropriations Committee gives three spending bills laced with science and tech initiatives unanimous go-ahead.

WASHINGTON--The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday gave three spending bills laced with science and tech initiatives a unanimous go-ahead to the Senate floor.

NASA once again received the largest chunk of the science budget--more than $16 billion, with a fraction earmarked for a Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission. The National Institute for Standards and Technology's proposed share increased to $844.5 million, more than a third greater than the amount required by President Bush, and the Federal Communications Commission's allocation received a slight boost to around $300 million. An agriculture spending bill designated about $550 million for loans intended to support broadband in rural areas, while a legislative branch appropriations bill supplied $10 million for part of a multiyear plan to convert the Library of Congress' "talking books" for the blind from tapes to digital media.