The U.S. Senate on Saturday passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill that lifts the threat of a government shutdown. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION The U.S. Senate on Saturday passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill that lifts the threat of a government shutdown as Congress attempts to wrap up a two-year legislative session marked by bitter partisanship and few major accomplishments. The Senate's 56-40 vote sends the measure to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it into law before an extension of federal spending authority expires at midnight on Wednesday (December 17). Passage of the 1,603-page bill was a long, tough struggle in the Senate and the House of Representatives marked by weeks of closed-door haggling over controversial policy changes and bitter disputes over financial regulations and Obama's immigration order. The legislation largely eliminates government shutdown worries for financial markets through next fall by funding most government agencies through September 2015. The Department of Homeland Security will be treated differently, getting a funding extension only through February 27th, by which time Republicans will control both chambers of Congress. Republicans insisted on the shorter leash for the department so that they can try to deny the agency any funds for implementing Obama's recent order easing deportations for millions of undocumented immigrants. The Senate vote, taken during a rare Saturday session triggered by conservative senators who refused to waive some procedural hurdles, closed the latest chapter in a four-year-long battle between Democrats and Republicans over U.S. fiscal policy during an era of large budget deficits. These battles are expected to resume next year but with a twist: Republicans, having won the congressional elections on November 4th, take control of the Senate from Democrats with a 54-46 majority and will enjoy a larger majority in the House.