Congress Strikes $1.1 Trillion Spending Compromise to Avoid January Shutdown

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Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call / Getty Images

Senator Barbara Mikulski speaks with reporters in the basement of the Capitol before a vote in the Senate on Dec. 10, 2013

One month after Congress passed a two-year budget deal, leaders have struck a compromise allocating over $1 trillion to fund the government for the next year.

“There will be no shutdown,” said Senate Appropriations Committee chairwoman Barbara Mikulski while chewing on a cough drop, a sign of weariness after multiple face-to-face Capitol meetings this past weekend with House Appropriations Committee chairman Hal Rogers, as well as ranking committee members Senator Richard Shelby, the Republican from Alabama, and Representative Nita Lowey, the Democrat from New York.

“This is a really rare thing that we’ve been doing,” said Rogers. “I don’t know if it’s historic or not, but it is rare to try to do an omnibus bill for the entire government in less than 30 days interrupted by Christmas and New Year’s.” The last omnibus — which combines the federal government’s 12 spending bills into one huge measure — was passed in 2011.

“I can’t say enough good things about my members, the committee and especially the staff, who have been working day and night — they’re on fumes,” added Rogers, who also praised his working relationship with Mikulski.

Rogers said for first time since the Korean War, the overall discretionary number — $1.1 trillion — has fallen over the past four years. Politico’s David Rogers reported on Sunday that nondefense spending, when adjusted to reflect changes in the cost of living since 2008, would be about 10% or $53 billion less in 2014.

Over the past month, the members addressed over 130 riders, including one by Republicans that reportedly blocked the Environmental Protection Agency regulation of certain greenhouse-gas emissions. A Mikulski aide said that particular amendment is not included in the agreement. Mikulski said there are “no new” abortion riders and that there’s “nothing in the bill that blocks Obamacare,” addressing two topics that could have doomed negotiations. Mikulski also said there are no earmarks.

“We hope it will get a strong vote,” said Mikulski. “The fact is, is that this is a strong bipartisan bill, and it is a bicameral bill.”

“It’s reasonably clean,” said Rogers. “I went into the process with the idea that what I wanted was a benign bill. A bill that would fund the government adequately, that would not have any earthshaking changes, and I think that’s what we have.”

The bill, which will be filed and released to the public at around 8 p.m. on Monday night, includes a fix for some military veterans whose pension increases were trimmed by the budget deal signed into law by President Obama during the last week of 2013. “We made a down payment on the neediest, which were the disabled, of working age and the survivors,” said Mikulski.

The House is expected to vote on Tuesday on a measure that will keep the government open past its current Wednesday funding deadline while the chambers debate and vote on the bill over the next several days. “We just couldn’t get it done [in time],” said Mikulski. “We worked last night up till about 7 o’clock. We were done before Downton Abbey.”

7 comments
jmac
jmac

Republicans covered the banks.   The Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission still aren't funded to make sure we don't have another financial collapse as the banks play with our money.   The coal industry can continue dumping toxic coal-mining into our steams.  


Good for Republicans.   They're tough when it comes to covering their big donors.  Wall Street's happy; coal's happy.   

ARTRaveler
ARTRaveler

Wow, they want kudos for just doing what they are paid for, in fact their only job.  They should be personally returning all the money they were mistakedly paid for "working" for the past few years and they have acted more like a 3rd world legislative group all except for chair throwing and spear fights on the floor.

RobertNguyen
RobertNguyen

1.1 T with 60% for war and zero investment for the economy and the future generation is nothing to brag about...

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

They reduced funding for science and research to below the levels of the historically anti-science GWB administration and cut millions for security for embassies and consulates. Keep that in mind the next time an attack on an outpost happens or we complain that we are falling behind in science or math.

ARTRaveler
ARTRaveler

Do the House "leaders?" have their redneck Teas Bone Heads component aligned with passing this or are we about to see another erupion by the 3rd graders there.

Tommy34684
Tommy34684

When and if it makes it to the Senate, future columnist Rubio will vote it down.

cutiepye
cutiepye

Why delay the inevitable? I welcome the impending shutdown. Bring it on!