The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

January 16, 2014

Senate ready to send $1.1T spending bill to Obama

WASHINGTON (AP) — Drained of much of its vitriol over the budget, Congress is poised to adopt a $1.1 trillion package financing federal agencies this year, a bipartisan compromise that all but banishes the specter of an election-year government shutdown.

The Democratic-controlled Senate planned to give final congressional approval to the immense spending measure, possibly as early as Thursday. The Republican-run House passed the package Wednesday in a lopsided 359-67 vote that underscored how both parties could claim wins in the measure — and how both saw deep perils in fighting over it.

"Not everyone will like everything in this bill," said Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., the House Appropriations Committee chairman. Rogers and his Senate counterpart, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., were the chief authors. "That's the nature of compromise."

The legislation is a line-by-line follow-up to the budget compromise the two parties pushed through Congress in December that set overall spending limits for the next two years.

The bill lawmakers were considering this week finances federal agencies through September. With the November congressional elections coming just weeks later, Congress is all but sure to provide more money later to avoid an election-eve budget clash.

The legislation increases agency budgets by $26 billion over last year's total. But it still leaves them $31 billion below where last year's spending would have been if not for sequestration — budget-wide cuts triggered after lawmakers failed to agree to deficit-cutting savings.

The measure let Republicans claim they have now restrained agency spending for four straight years. They won cuts to the Internal Revenue Service and Transportation Security Administration and foreign aid, restricted spending to implement President Barack Obama's health care and financial regulation overhauls, and won renewal of provisions limiting federal assistance for abortions.

"Today the House came together to keep the government open while further reining in its out-of-control spending," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said.

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