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Spending bill passes as federal government avoids shutdown

Spending bill passes as federal government avoids shutdown

A $1.1 trillion spending bill now sits on President Obama’s desk after passing both House and Senate late last night. In an unusual late Saturday evening vote (where democrats even at one point wheeled a piano into a spare room off the Senate floor, where they sang carols like “Ill be home for Christmas” NY Times reported) the Senate passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill, averting a government shutdown. This spending bill will fund the government through September. The bill included $512 billion in defense spending and $492 billion in non-defense spending. It sets budgets and funding priorities and new policies for the fiscal year, which ends September 30. The breakdown of the bill includes:

  • $5.4 billion in treatment to combat the spread of Ebola virus in U.S. and abroad
  • $6.4 billion in war funds to fight the rise of ISIS and overseas operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • $94 billion for new military equipment, including 87 Blackhawk helicopter, 38 F-35 joint strike fighters, and 2 attack submarines
  • a 1% military pay raise
  • blocks a pay raise for the vice president and other executive branch employees.
  • $4.5 million for Agriculture Department to fight plant diseases, particularly a disease that’s threatening the US citrus industry, as well as $2 million to address a virus hurting the U.S. pork industry.
  • $93 million for the FBI; $21 million more for the Drug Enforcement Agency, and includes $367 million to combat prescription drug abuse
  • $46 million in new funds to boost U.S. embassy, security around the world
  • $485 million in aid to countries to counter Russian aggression in the region
  • $69 million in additional funding to process veterans disability claims.
  • $30 million in new funding for the National Institutes of Health for a total of $30 billion, and increases funding to boost Alzheimer’s, cancer and brain research
  • cuts funding for EPA by $60 million and further reduces staffing levels to its lowest point since 1989
  • cuts funding for IRS by $345.6 million, providing the agency with the lowest funding level since 2008.
  • prevents federal and local funds from being used to implement a ballot referendum approved in November that would legalize recreational marijuana in Washington D.C.
  • Increase the maximum Pell Grant award to $5,830
  • makes white potatoes eligible for purchase through the federal food program that assists women and children
  • blocks the sage-grouse from being placed on the Endangered Species List.

The Bill passed in bipartisan vote, 56-40, of which more than 70 house democrats supported, after a turbulent process. Earlier this week,President Obama said if it passed the House and Senate that he would sign it. It now, after a late Saturday vote, sits on the President’s desk and showed a glimpse into the dynamics between the two parties, as well as some tensions among Republicans likely to surface after they take control in January.

Michael Nickels

December 14th, 2014

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