Medicaid break for Holocaust survivors, an award named for a member of Congress and a promise by Democratic leaders of billions in new spending for minorities are all tucked into the deficit-reduction bill.
The provisions are among numerous obscure items in the budget that are only now coming to light, days after Congress approved the measure and adjourned for the year.Other language provides assistance for Americans fleeing Iraq and Kuwait and money for certain centers to treat patients with Alzheimer's disease or those who may have AIDS.
But in a money-saving move, lawmakers decreed that deceased veterans using federal burial benefits no longer would be able to receive free headstones from the government.
It is a longstanding Washington tradition for giant measures like the deficit-reduction package to be crammed with items that affect limited numbers of people.
In fact, Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., is offering dinner for two at a Capitol Hill restaurant for anyone who brings one to his attention that benefits five or fewer people. He has yet to find one.
"Staff tells me this is the cleanest bill they've seen in recent times," Weldon said Wednesday.
But the bill - the main part of an effort to slash the federal deficit by $496 billion over the next five years - does contain provisions that benefit specific groups or areas.
A report accompanying the bill contains an unusual promise by Democratic congressional leaders to try to increase federal spending for minority group members by at least $8.8 billion over the next three years.
The leaders promise an effort to target science and energy research and education initiatives to traditionally black and Hispanic colleges and universities. They say they will try to set up a new federally backed bond program for new construction at the schools, of which there are about 120, mostly in the South.