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Archive for Sunday, December 13, 2009

Republicans denied on spending filibuster attempt

December 13, 2009

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— The Democratic-controlled Senate on Saturday cleared away a Republican filibuster of a huge end-of-year spending bill that rewards most federal agencies with generous budget boosts.

The $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 spending bill that would give the Education Department, the State Department, the Department of Health and Human Services and others increases far exceeding inflation.

The 60-34 vote met the minimum threshold to end the GOP filibuster. A final vote was set for this afternoon to send the measure to President Barack Obama.

The measure combines $447 billion in operating budgets with about $650 billion in mandatory payments for federal benefit programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. It wraps together six individual spending bills and also contains more than 5,000 back-home projects sought by lawmakers in both parties.

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.

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