|By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press|
The bill swept through the House on a 359-67 vote and was on track for a big
The measure funds virtually every agency of government and contains compromises on almost every one of its 1,582 pages. It covers the one-third of government spending subject to annual decisions by
Excluded are the giant benefit programs like
Tea party Republicans, chastened after sparking a 16-day partial shutdown of the government in October in a kamikaze attempt to derail President
"I don't think there's going to be a lot of opposition," one tea party leader, Rep.
To buy time for the
The bill increases core agency spending by
Domestic programs generally fare better and are kept, on average, at levels agreed to last year before the automatic cuts of 5 percent kicked in across the board. Those broadly applied cuts, called sequestration, were triggered by
The bill fills out the budget agreement sealed last month by Sen.
The measure changes a Ryan-Murray provision cutting military pension cost-of-living increases for working age retirees to exempt disabled veterans and surviving spouses from the cut.
The lowest-common-denominator bill doesn't contain big-ticket wins for either side, but the simple fact that a deal came together was seen as a win for
The alternatives, however, were to allow automatic spending cuts to strike for a second year and risk another politically debilitating government shutdown.
Democrats celebrated winning an addition
"We were able to strip out nearly all the new, divisive riders relating to abortion, contraception, gun control, immigration, implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Dodd-Frank, environmental protection," said Rep.
Some Democrats said they would support it but only reluctantly, complaining that despite some increases, spending for education, health and other programs would still be too low.
"With this bill, we are waist deep in manure instead of neck deep in manure. Hooray, I guess," Rep.
Republicans successfully "zeroed out" funding for high-speed rail, a slap at
Civilian federal workers would get their first pay hike in four years, even if it is just 1 percent. The bill contains a familiar provision backed by postal worker unions prohibiting the
Conservatives complained that the bill keeps the money flowing to wasteful programs, but the actual debate was a sleepy affair dominated by the old-school lawmakers who populate the Appropriations Committee.
"What's this money going for?" said Rep.
The much-criticized Essential Air Service, which subsidizes airlines serving smaller rural airports and enjoys support from many conservatives whose districts benefit from its largess, would receive a record budget of
The bill also blocks the
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