Mon | Nov 19, 2018

Congress OKs year-end budget deal, sends to Obama

Published:Sunday | December 20, 2015 | 12:00 AM
US President Barack Obama

Congress on Friday sent President Barack Obama a bipartisan but deficit-draining year-end budget package that boosts federal agency spending and awards tax cuts to both families and a sweeping array of business interests.

A 65-33 Senate vote on the measure was the last act that shipped the measure, combining $1.14 trillion in new spending in 2016 and $680 billion in tax cuts over the coming decade, to Obama.

It had earlier swept through the House on a pair of decisive votes on Thursday and Friday, marking a peaceful end to a year-long struggle over the budget, taxes, and Republican efforts to derail his regulatory agenda.

Obama will sign the measure, which includes many of the spending increases he fought for all year and is largely cleansed of GOP attempts to block his moves on the environment, financial regulation, and consumer protection. Republicans won increases for the military and an end to a ban on exporting US oil, as well as permanent tax cuts for business investment.

Republicans were evenly split with 27 of them voting in favour of and 26 against the bill.

Presidential contender Marco Rubio was absent. Only six Democrats and Independent Bernie Sanders, another presidential hopeful, voted against the measure.

"Washington's leadership has created another massive spending bill in secret and rammed it through Congress, hoping that the American people don't notice or have become numb to this kind of business as usual," Rubio said in a statement, saying it demonstrates that Congress needs "conservative presidential leadership".

GOP presidential aspirants Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky voted against the bill, while long-shot Lindsey Graham of South Carolina supported it.

- AP