March 7, 2014
US House approves $1.1 trln measure to fund gov't through Sept. 30
The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a $1.1 trillion spending bill that quashes the threat of a government shutdown through Sept. 30 and offers lawmakers a chance to end four years of chaotic, crisis-driven budgeting.
The 359-67 vote, reflecting strong bipartisan support in the Republican-controlled chamber, sends the measure to the Democratic-controlled US Senate for approval by Saturday.
The Senate gave itself three more days to consider the measure by approving an extension of current funding that was due to expire at midnight on Wednesday.
The massive "omnibus" spending bill, which funds programs from missile systems to Amtrak rail services, passed with strong majorities of both House Republicans and Democrats. It boosts fiscal 2014 spending on military and domestic discretionary programs by $45 billion over levels that had been scheduled under automatic, "sequester" spending cuts.
The measure fleshes out a budget deal passed in December that also set spending levels for fiscal 2015, eliminating a key source of congressional gridlock for the year ahead. Many lawmakers say this will allow them to pass normal spending bills for the first time since 2009, President Barack Obama's first year in office.
"This is a critical step in the direction of regular order," Democratic Representative Marcy Kaptur of Ohio said of the spending bill.