Just as important to many lawmakers was the bill’s signal to voters that members of Congress actually can run the country. The past two years have featured repeated standoffs over deficit reduction, raising the federal debt limit and other budget issues that have soured voters, making lawmakers reluctant to incense them further.
Passage of the legislation sends a positive signal to “all those ankle-biters and naysayers who say we can’t get anything done,” Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., said.
The measure also lets legislators put budget battles behind them and turn to campaign-season themes: for the GOP, Obama’s health care law, and for Democrats, boosting the incomes of low-earners and the middle class.
In the House, 64 of the 67 “no” votes came from Republicans, including many of the chamber’s most-conservative members.
Among them was Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, who complained that the measure represented “Washington at its worst – a 1,582-page bill stuffed with pork, ineffective programs and giveaways, being rushed through Congress without proper review.”
The bill’s authors unveiled the measure Monday night.
The legislation erases cuts Congress enacted last year in annual inflation increases in benefits for wounded military personnel who retire early and their survivors. Those cuts had drawn howls from veteran’s organizations.
The bill also blocks the government from enforcing regulations aimed at weaning consumers from today’s widely used but energy-eating incandescent light bulbs and gives federal workers a 1 percent raise, their first in four years.
It prevents the post office from ending Saturday deliveries to close its huge budget gap and bars the administration from transferring terrorist suspects held at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention center to U.S. prisons.
Of the measure’s $1.1 trillion, $521 billion is for defense and $492 billion is for non-defense programs. In addition, the bill provides $92 billion for military action overseas, mostly in Afghanistan, and $7 billion for natural disasters.
To give the Senate time to debate the spending measure, Obama signed a measure that Congress sent him financing federal agencies through Saturday. An earlier temporary spending measure expired Thursday morning.