Passage of this motion will set up a final vote, which is possible as early as tomorrow.
The AP notes that this “$1.1 trillion measure combines much of the year’s unfinished budget work — only a $626 billion Pentagon spending measure would remain — into a 1,000-plus-page catchall spending bill that would give Cabinet departments such as Education, Health and Human Services and State increases far exceeding inflation.”
The measure provides spending increases averaging about 10 percent to programs under immediate control of Congress, blending increases for veterans’ programs, NASA and the FBI with a pay raise for federal workers and help for car dealers.
Additional provisions worth noting:
Saturday’s bill would offer an improved binding arbitration process to challenge General Motors’ and Chrysler’s decisions to close more than 2,000 dealerships, which often anchor fading small town business districts. It also renewed for two more years a federal loan guarantee program for steel companies.
The bill also caps a heated debate over Obama’s order to close the military-run prison for terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It would permit detainees held there to be transferred to the United States to stand trial but not to be released.
The bill would also void a long-standing ban on the funding of abortion by the District of Columbia government and overturns a ban on federal money for needle exchange programs in the city. It also phases out a D.C. school voucher program favored by Republicans and opens the door for the city to permit medical marijuana.
It would also lift a nationwide ban on the use of federal funds for needle-exchange programs.
Federal workers would receive pay increases averaging 2 percent, with people in areas with higher living costs receiving slightly higher increases.
(credit image – flickr)