Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

US Senate ready to pass spending bill for Obama

US Senate ready to pass spending bill for Obama

A once bipartisan bill to fund the U.S. government is limping out of Congress, dismissed by the White House as a vestige of the Bush administration and derided by Republicans as an example of the Democrats' reckless spending.
The Senate was scheduled to vote Tuesday and send the $410 billion bill chocked full of lawmakers' pet projects and significant increases in food aid for the poor, energy research and other programs to President Barack Obama. The bill was supposed to have been completed last October.
The legislation ran into an unexpected political hailstorm in Congress after Obama's spending-heavy economic stimulus bill and his 2010 budget plan forecasting a $1.8 trillion deficit for the current budget year. And Republicans seized on Obama's willingness to sign a bill packed with pet projects after he assailed them as a candidate.
"If it had not been for the stimulus and the budget proposal it might have been ... noncontroversial," said House Republican leader John Boehner. "The stimulus bill riled an awful lot of people up .... And then the budget proposal comes out."
Within Democratic ranks, there was relief, not jubilation.
The huge, 1,132-page spending bill has an extraordinary reach, wrapping together nine spending bills to fund the annual operating budgets of every Cabinet department except for Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs.
The $408 billion measure was written mostly over the course of last year, before projected deficits quadrupled and Obama's economic recovery bill left many of the same spending accounts swimming in cash. Congressional aides say the true cost is closer to $410 billion once heating subsidies for the poor passed last year are included.
Democrats had long feuded with Bush over domestic spending levels and stopped action on the nine bills last year, gambling that Obama would win the election and restore hundreds of cuts proposed by Bush.
And, to the embarrassment of Obama _ who promised during last year's campaign to force Congress to curb its pork-barrel ways _ the bill contains 7,991 pet projects totaling $5.5 billion, according to calculations by the Republican staff of the House Appropriations Committee.
Obama is set to announce new reforms of the pet projects process on Wednesday.
At the same time, the measure chips away at several leftover Bush administration policies. It clears the way for the Obama administration to reverse a rule issued late in the Bush administration that says greenhouse gases may not be restricted to protect polar bears from global warming. Another Bush administration rule that reduced the input of federal scientists in endangered species decisions can also be quickly overturned without a lengthy rulemaking process.


Updated : 2021-07-25 14:47 GMT+08:00