US Congress Passes 2015 Omnibus Bill
World Economy

US Congress Passes 2015 Omnibus Bill

The US Congress passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill for fiscal year 2015 Saturday, capping a week of acrimonious wrangling while averting a government shutdown and sending the measure to President Barack Obama.
The bill, which narrowly cleared the House of Representatives on Thursday and survived a series of procedural hurdles to pass the Senate 56 votes to 40 during a rare weekend session, funds nearly all federal government agencies through next September, Channel NewsAsia reported Sunday.
But by funding the Department of Homeland Security until only February, it sets up a showdown over Obama’s controversial immigration plan early next year, when a Congress under full Republican control will take another shot at rolling back the executive order shielding millions from deportation.
Despite the sometimes dramatic bickering between – and within – the two parties in the special session, the bill needed bipartisan cooperation to pass the Democratic-led chamber.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the bill was an imperfect but necessary compromise. “Since 2011, Congress has lurched from crisis to crisis, with the country constantly under threat of a shutdown or financial catastrophe. It is a bad habit, and the American people are sick of it,” he said.
Referring to America’s tax and environment agencies, number two Senate Republican John Cornyn noted how the legislation “slashes spending for some of the president’s most overreaching agencies like the IRS and EPA (and) blocks the administration’s plan to transfer dangerous terrorists onto American soil” from the Guantanamo military prison.
Of the 40 no votes, 22 were Democrats, many of them furious that negotiators inserted deeply controversial policy riders into the package, including one that rolls back key financial regulations on Wall Street banks. Another eviscerates parts of existing campaign finance law by allowing wealthy donors to contribute dramatically more money to political campaigns than currently allowed.


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