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US Congress sends huge spending bill to Obama

US Congress sends huge spending bill to Obama

Congress cleared a $410 billion measure to fund the government for President Barack Obama's signature on Tuesday, a bill denounced by most Republicans as an example of reckless spending.
The Senate approved the measure by voice after it cleared a pivotal procedural hurdle by a 62-35 vote. Sixty votes had been required to shut down debate.
Obama will sign the measure Wednesday, the White House said, but he also will announce actions to curb lawmakers' penchant for pet projects.
The $410 billion bill is chock-full of lawmakers' pet projects and significant increases in food aid for the poor, energy research and other programs. The bill was supposed to have been completed last fall.
It 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. 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 the Republican leader in the House of Representatives, Rep. 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 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.
Described by lawmakers as a $410 billion measure, but tallied officially by the Congressional Budget Office at $408 billion because of technicalities involving heating subsidies for the poor, the bill was written mostly over the course of last year, with support from crucial Republicans such as Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the Senate's No. 3 Republican.
They sit on the Senate Appropriations Committee. McConnell is the successful sponsor or co-sponsor of $76 million worth of pet projects, known as "earmarks," not requested by former President George W. Bush, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a budget watchdog group. Alexander obtained a more modest 36 earmarks totaling $32 million.
Alexander supported the measure in the end; McConnell did not.


Updated : 2021-06-21 05:04 GMT+08:00