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House passes $1.1T spending bill

The bill will now head to the Senate, where it is expected to pass Friday.

By Gabrielle Levy
UPI/Kevin Dietsch | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/b680a5e217f73bd82d6053a182b544b0/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a $1.1 trillion, government-wide spending bill Wednesday afternoon, sending the measure to the Senate and likely averting another government shutdown.

The nearly 1600-page bill, which passed by an overwhelming 359-67, rolls all 12 annual appropriations measures into one "omnibus" piece of legislation and touches every level of discretionary funding.

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Members of the Senate are expected to pass its version of the bill Friday, sending it to President Barack Obama's desk for signature before the latest stopgap funding expires Sunday.

Many of those who voted against the bill were from the right: conservatives who complained it still included too-high levels of spending.

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Democrats, in the meantime, swallowed the smallest budget -- even adjusted for inflation -- since the one President George W. Bush got six years ago.

“I will support the bill very reluctantly because the alternative is far worse,” said Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., who said what many in his party must have felt: “We are waist deep in manure, not up to our necks. Hooray!”

When all is said and done, the $491.7 billion cap on non-defense spending comes just $2 billion shy from eliminating the cuts made under sequestration last March.

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Programs such as early education Head Start saw a boost of $1 billion to $8.6 billion, and the Army Corps of Engineers got nearly half a billion more over its budget last spring.

But the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation were less fortunate, as were programs within the Department of Energy aimed at updating nuclear weapons.

This year's bill marks the first time since 1989 Congress has failed to pass a single individual spending bill of the 12 it is required to do each fiscal year.

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Still, in remarkable contrast to the 113th Congress' seeming inability to pass any legislation, the bill moved through its legislative hurdles with ease. It will go from unveiling to passing -- assuming it does pass Friday in the Senate -- in just six days.

[Politico]

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