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Obama gets $1.1-trillion spending bill from Congress

Published:Monday | December 15, 2014 | 12:00 AM

WASHINGTON (AP):Congress cleared a $1.1 trillion spending bill for President Barack Obama's signature after a day of Senate intrigue capped by a failed, largely symbolic Republican challenge to the administration's new immigration policy.

The vote late Saturday night was 56-40 in favour of the measure, which funds nearly the entire government through the September 30 end of the fiscal year. It also charts a new course for selected shaky pension plans covering more than one million retirees, including the possibility of benefit cuts.

The Senate passed the bill on a day Democrats launched a drive to confirm two dozen of Obama's stalled nominees to the federal bench and administration posts, before their majority expires at year's end.

throwing blame

Several Republicans blamed Tea Party-backed Texas Senator Ted Cruz for giving the outgoing majority party an opportunity to seek approval for presidential appointees, including some that are long stalled.

It was Cruz who pushed the Senate to cast its first vote on the administration's policy of suspending the threat of deportation for an estimated four million immigrants living in the country illegally. He lost his attempt Saturday night, 74-22, although Republican leaders have vowed to bring the issue back after the party takes control of the Senate in January.