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Entries in Omnibus Bill (4)

Friday
Dec162011

Senate Passes Omnibus Spending Bill

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate has passed the omnibus spending bill Saturday morning –  averting a threat of a government shutdown.

The deal on nine appropriations bills grouped together in a so-called Megabus, passed by a vote of 67-32, called by Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del. at 11 a.m.

Late Thursday, the House and Senate negotiated the $ 1 trillion omnibus to package the nine remaining appropriations bills through the end of the fiscal year 2012.

The House passed the measure Friday night, assuring that a government shutdown would not happen with the promise that the Senate would vote for the measure today.

With the Senate vote today, the bill will now head to President Obama’s desk for his signature.

The vote drew animated and at times fierce rhetoric over the way the bill was pushed through Congress quickly.

“Here we are again, a bill 1,221 pages long. Not one member of this committee has read of — of this body has read…1,221 pages representing $915 billion of the taxpayers’ money,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said on the Senate floor this morning sarcastically. “It’s outrageous. I have amendments to save the taxpayers billions of dollars as associated with this bill. But never mind because we’re going to go home for Christmas.”

Senator Tom Coburn, R-Okla. said the passage of this spending bill is a “failure” for the American people.

“We’re going to go home, we’re going to pass this bill, far less than what the country needs in terms of its integrity and its actions,” Coburn said. “Hopefully, we will think and return with a renewed spirit to fix the ship of state, and do what is in the best interest of the nation, not is what in the best interest of our parochial political careers.”

With this vote, it brings what should be the last vote in the Senate this year.

Senators are now free to return to their home districts for the holiday.

While the House of Representatives still has to vote on the payroll tax cut plan, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., seemed confident enough that they too will pass the bill to declare that today’s vote is the last of the year for the Senate.

“This is the last roll call vote of this year. Have a happy holiday everyone,” Reid said on the Senate floor.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec162010

Reid Abandons Omnibus Bill Amid GOP Opposition

Photo Courtesy - Reid dot Senate dot gov(WASHINGTON) -- With Senate Republicans uniting against a massive $1.1-trillion omnibus spending bill and threatening to demand a time-consuming oral reading of the 1,924-page measure, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Thursday night elected to ditch the controversial bill.

In recent days, Republicans blasted the $8.3 billion of earmarks in the measure and vowed to force an oral reading of it on the Senate floor. That process could have taken up to 50 hours, sucking up precious time in the few remaining days before Christmas when Democrats also are trying to ratify the START treaty, repeal the military’s "don't ask, don't tell" and pass the DREAM Act immigration measure.

But with GOP senators now refusing to support the bill -- Reid said nine of them changed their stance in recent days and told him they would not vote for it -- Democrats Thursday scrapped any plans to proceed with it.

Reid called the omnibus “a good bill, an important piece of legislation for our country,” but acknowledged that he had decided to ditch it. The Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell, said Democrats were forced to scrap the measure because they “don’t have the votes.”

Despite ditching the bill, Reid on Thursday mounted a passionate defense of earmarks, hitting out at President Obama and Republicans alike just as he did earlier Thursday.

The omnibus bill included well over 6,000 pork projects worth around $8.3 billion. According to a list of senators ranked by how much pork money they put into the bill, 20 of the top 26 slots were occupied by Democratic senators. The top two slots, however, both belonged to Republicans, specifically to the two GOP senators from Mississippi.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

Wednesday
Dec152010

President Obama’s $8-Billion Earmark Rerun: Lesson Not Learned?

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration Wednesday told Congress to pass an omnibus spending bill containing $8 billion in earmark projects, even though just a few days ago the president said one of the lessons he learned from the 2010 midterm elections was to take more seriously the public’s disapproval of -- and his pledge to oppose -- earmarks.

“We wish there were no earmarks and are troubled with their presence” in the $1.1-trillion omnibus spending bill, an administration source told ABC News. “But Secretary Gates has told the President that the alternative bill” -- a continuing resolution that for one year funds the government, which is due to run out of cash at the end of the week -- “doesn't have the funding critical for several national security priorities.”

Gates issued a statement Wednesday evening saying that without the omnibus spending bill, the Pentagon would be left  “without the resources and flexibility needed to meet vital military requirements” -- specifically “the military pay raise, increases in military health care costs, higher fuel prices, and other ‘fact of life’ bills.” The shorter funding bill would “slow our efforts to meet unanticipated wartime needs,” he added, while the bigger funding bill would provide funding for “critical national security initiatives” including the new Cyber Command and increasing special operations forces.

The president’s acquiescence with a bill that contains $8 billion in earmarks stands in contrast with what he said was a lesson learned from the 2010 midterm “shellacking,” when he indicated that he regretted not taking more of a stand against a different $8 billion in earmarks in a 2009 omnibus spending bill.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio 

Tuesday
Dec142010

'What a Disgrace!': GOP Gears Up For Battle Over Earmark-Packed Omnibus

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- No sooner had Senate Democrats, led by Appropriations panel chairman Daniel Inouye, unveiled a $1.1 trillion, 2,000-page omnibus bill packed with earmarks, than Republicans denounced the measure as “a disgrace” and a “totally inappropriate” move in the final days of the lame-duck Congress.

“It is completely and totally inappropriate to wrap up all of this into a 2,000-page bill and try to pass it the week before Christmas,” said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.

“I am actively working to defeat it,” he stated.

McConnell is backed in his opposition by most -- but not all -- of his fellow Senate Republicans. A GOP Senate aide says a group of conservative senators plans to force a reading on the Senate floor of all 1,924 pages of the bill.

And Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. has filed an amendment to eliminate all funding for earmarks in it.

“Appropriators announced a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill full of outrageous/wasteful earmarks -- what a disgrace!” McCain said on Twitter Tuesday.

The last-ditch omnibus effort comes after Congress failed to pass a single appropriations bill all year. Now the clock is ticking. Whatever happens with the omnibus, Congress must act fast to prevent a federal shutdown on Saturday when the latest continuing resolution runs out.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio