Congress approves massive $410B spending bill
WASHINGTON – Congress on Tuesday sent President Barack Obama a once-bipartisan bill to fund the domestic Cabinet agencies that evolved instead into a symbol of lawmakers' free-spending ways and penchant for back-home pet projects. The Senate approved the measure by voice after it cleared a key procedural hurdle by a 62-35 vote. Sixty votes were required to shut down debate.
Obama is expected to sign the measure Wednesday to avoid a partial shutdown of the government. But the White House has kept the bill at arm's length, calling it last year's business. Obama is also set to announce steps aimed at curbing lawmakers' so-called earmarks.
The $410 billion bill is chock-full of those pet projects and significant increases in food aid for the poor, energy research and other programs. It was supposed to have been completed last fall, but Democrats opted against election-year battles with Republicans and former President George W. Bush.
The measure was a top priority for Democratic leaders, who praised it for numerous increases denied by Bush. It once enjoyed support from Republicans such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
But the bill ran into an unexpected political hailstorm in Congress after Obama's spending-heavy economic stimulus bill and his 2010 budget plan forecasting a $1.8 trillion deficit for the current budget year. And Republicans seized on Obama's willingness to sign a bill packed with earmarks after he assailed them as a candidate.
"If it had not been for the stimulus and the budget proposal it might have been ... noncontroversial," said House GOP leader John Boehner of Ohio. "The stimulus bill riled an awful lot of people up. ... And then the budget proposal comes out."
Within Democratic ranks, there was relief, not jubilation.
Your congress criminals have given you the Bird! Or perhaps better stated, the pork! Get out your wallets and get ready to empty it for these bastards pet projects.
Democrap and Repubnican all added their lard to this bill. All should be removed from office in the most expeditious manner.
Now, back to work, slaves!
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