Senators have agreed to begin debate on an omnibus spending bill (H.R. 3288) by a vote of 56 to 43. The measure was recently adopted by a House-Senate conference committee. House members passed it earlier today by a vote of 221-202.
The AP notes that this is a “massive year-end spending bill awarding generous funding boosts to domestic programs despite massive budget deficits.”
The wrapup measure totals $1.1 trillion, combining six spending bills for 10 Cabinet departments into a 1,088-page bundle packed with more than 5,000 back-home projects sought by lawmakers.
The bill combines $447 billion in operating budgets for 10 Cabinet departments with more than $600 billion for federal benefit programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.
But this doesn’t totally complete work on spending bills for this year, as Congressional Quarterly notes.
Once the Senate joins the House in approving the measure, there will be only one of the 12 spending bills left for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.
The remaining measure would fund the Defense Department. It will be the last train moving through Congress this year, and is expected to carry a slew of unrelated provisions to extend expiring programs. It could also become the vehicle for new spending aimed at spurring more job creation.
Congress is currently working “against a Dec. 18 deadline to complete work on its fiscal 2010 appropriations bills.”
That is when the stopgap measure that is temporarily funding most of the government runs out. Another short-term continuing resolution may be required to finish and give the Obama administration time to review the voluminous remaining legislation.
(credit image – associated press)