The US Senate has passed a $1.1tr spending bill – and prevented a repeat of last year’s government shutdown. The 56-40 vote on Saturday came as Congress ended a two-year legislative session that has been marred by bitter partisanship and few successes. Now the measure will be sent to US President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it into law before Wednesday.
This will mean that most government agencies will be funded until September 2015, except for the Department of Homeland Security, which will have its funding reviewed at the end of February. By this time the Republicans will control the House of Representatives and the Senate and will be able to deny the organisation funding to enforce Mr Obama’s recent order easing deportations for undocumented immigrants.
Getting the 1,603-page bill through was a bitter struggle, with a revolt by House Democrats that nearly scuttled the bill earlier this week, and delaying tactics in the Senate. Of the 40 no votes, 22 were Democrats, many of them furious that negotiators inserted policies into the package, including one pulling back on key financial regulations for Wall Street banks. Another part of the bill gets rid of campaign finance law by dramatically increasing the amount of money wealthy donors can give to political campaigns.
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal voted no, saying the package was “poisoned by special favours flagrantly contrary to the public interest.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the bill wasn’t perfect but a necessary compromise. He added: “Since 2011, Congress has lurched from crisis to crisis, with the country constantly under threat of a shutdown or financial catastrophe. It is a bad habit, and the American people are sick of it.” Among the items the spending bill will allow are a slight increase in Pentagon war funding – to total $64bn this fiscal year – and almost $5.5bn to help combat the Ebola virus. The partisan fights are expected to resume next year, although the Republicans, having won the November congressional elections, will enjoy a 54-46 majority in the Senate and a larger majority in the House.
Join Ace News Facebook pages: https://www.facebook.com/groups/acenewsservices/
Living With Fibromyalgia: https://www.facebook.com/groups/699321140156812/
Celtic FC: http://thecelticnetwork.com/