Massive $1.1 trillion spending bill unveiled

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Congress $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill Unveiled
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Massive $1.1 trillion spending bill unveiled
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 13: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (C) (R-TX) leaves the U.S. Senate chamber with Sen. Richard Shelby (R) (R-AL) after the Senate voted to approve a $1.1 trillion omnibus funding bill December 13, 2014 in Washington, DC. Despite Cruz's efforts to delay the vote due to objections with U.S. President Barack Obama's immigration orders, the Senate approved the funding and will avoid a government shutdown. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Senator Barbara Mikulski, a Democrat from Maryland and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, talks to a reporter while walking through the the U.S. Capitol basement in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Dec. 12, 2014. The Senate is poised to take up a $1.1 trillion U.S. government spending bill opposed by two senators who agree on almost nothing -- Democrat Elizabeth Warren and Republican Ted Cruz. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, center, walks through the U.S. Capitol basement in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Dec. 12, 2014. The Senate is poised to take up a $1.1 trillion U.S. government spending bill opposed by two senators who agree on almost nothing -- Democrat Elizabeth Warren and Republican Ted Cruz. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The Capitol Dome and the Capitol Christmas Tree are illuminated late Thursday evening as Congress works to pass a $1.1 trillion U.S. government-wide spending bill and avoid a government shutdown, in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. The Obama White House and House Republicans joined forces Thursday to pass the funding bill over clamorous protests from Democrats objecting that it would roll back bank regulations imposed in the wake of the economic near-meltdown of 2008. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 11: Members of the U.S. House of Representatives leave the Capitol after a vote on the $1.1 trillion omnibus bill December 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. The House has passed the bill by a vote of 219-206. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Representative Jim Costa, a Democrat from California, speaks to members of the media outside a House Democratic caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. The House passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill after a day of disarray and just hours before U.S. government funding runs out. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., talks on a phone as he walks from the Senate subway on Capitol in Washington, Friday, Dec. 12, 2014. President Barack Obama on Friday urged the Senate to ratify a $1.1 trillion spending bill that has roiled his Democratic Party, judging it an imperfect measure that stems from "the divided government that the American people voted for." (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, center, returns to his office after voting in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. The House passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill after a day of disarray and just hours before U.S. government funding runs out. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Provides $82 billion for food stamps as required by law; allots another $6.6 billion for a program that provides food aid to pregnant and nursing mothers and their young children. Another $21 billion goes to mandatory funding for the school lunch program and child nutrition programs. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
The space program would receive $18 billion, a $364 million increase. Of that, $4.4 billion is provided for the new Orion space-launch system, which last week had its first test launch. (Photo by U.S. Navy via Getty Images)
Provides $8.4 billion for the FBI, a slight increase; $2.4 billion for the Drug Enforcement Administration; $1.2 billion for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and $2.3 billion for various grants to state and local law enforcement. (Photo credit should read Joshua LOTT/AFP/Getty Images)
Provides $26 billion for Section 8 and other public housing programs for the poor. Add $10 billion for other housing programs, including help for the elderly and disabled. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)
Provides $21 million to continue a project restoring the iconic cast-iron Capitol Dome, which is beset by crack and leaks. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Provides $71 billion for transportation programs, including $40 billion in highway funding for states. Aid to Amtrak would be maintained at $1.4 billion. (AP Photo/Rick Callahan).
Provides $5.4 billion of President Barack Obama's $6.2 billion request to fight Ebola at home and abroad; $2.5 billion of the total would help African countries fight the disease, while $2.7 billion would go to the Health and Human Services Department, including $1.2 billion for Center for Disease Control and Prevention efforts to stop Ebola in West Africa and strengthen public health systems in at-risk countries.
Provides $73.7 billion for overseas military operations and diplomatic efforts by the State Department to combat terrorism, including $3.4 billion to continue the air campaign against Islamic State militants and $1.6 billion to train the Iraqi military. Provides $4.1 billion to train and equip Afghanistan's military.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, center, walks as she leaves a House Democratic caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. The House passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill after a day of disarray and just hours before U.S. government funding runs out. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 11: House Speaker John Boehner (C) (R-OH) walks to the House chamber for an expected vote on a $1.1 trillion government funding bill on December 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. Congress is attempting to pass a last minute funding bill for the federal government to avoid a government shutdown at midnight tonight. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
$1.013 trillion for core agency budgets for day-to-day operations, with $521 billion for defense and $492 billion for non-defense. That represents about one-third of the federal budget and is essentially a freeze at current levels. Another $64 billion is provided for overseas military operations. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Provides a base budget of $490 billion to the Pentagon, a $3.3 billion increase. Maintaining 1.3 million active-duty troops and 820,800 reserves would cost $128 billion. Another $162 billion is provided for operations and maintenance; procurement of new weapons systems, including 38 new F-35 fighters, totals $92 billion.
Keeps the Homeland Security Department funded at current levels through Feb. 27. Its budget will be revisited next year when Republicans are hoping to roll back President Barack Obama's recent moves on immigration. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Provides $49 billion for foreign aid programs, an almost $3 billion increase. Some $6 billion would help fight HIV/AIDS overseas, while $7.2 billion would be for economic and development programs. Israel would receive $3.1 billion in military aid; Egypt would receive $1.3 billion in military aid and $150 million in economic assistance. The Millennium Challenge Corporation, which directs aid to countries demonstrating economic and social progress, would receive $900 million. AFP PHOTO/A MAJEED (Photo credit should read A Majeed/AFP/Getty Images)
Cuts the EPA budget by $60 million to $8.1 billion, or 21 percent below peak levels in 2010. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Cuts the IRS by $346 million to $10.9 billion. Blocks the agency from targeting tea party organizations and other advocacy groups seeking tax-exempt status based on their ideology. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. Just days before government funding expires, House Republican leaders are trying to strike a balance between the conservatives determined to stop President Barack Obama’s immigration order and other lawmakers just as determined to avoid another politically damaging shutdown. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2014 file photo, Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Lawmakers are finalizing a sweeping $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through September and prevent a shutdown later this week. The measure is the main piece of business facing the lame-duck Congress that hopes to adjourn this week. Republicans will take over the Senate when the new Congress reconvenes next month. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
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WASHINGTON (AP) -- A huge, $1.1 trillion spending bill funding every corner of government opened to mixed reviews Wednesday, with conservatives unhappy that it fails to challenge President Barack Obama's immigration policy while many Democrats are displeased because it weakens the 2010 Dodd-Frank regulation of risky financial instruments.

Another provision drawing fire would allow pensions to be cut for current retirees covered by some economically-distressed multiemployer plans, part of a package agreed to unexpectedly Tuesday after secretive talks.

The 1,603-page measure was unveiled late Tuesday and will be scrutinized in advance of a House vote Thursday. But support from the top leaders in both the House and the Senate appears to cement its passage and prevent a government shutdown Thursday midnight, despite the presence of items in the legislation for lawmakers of all persuasions to dislike.

Lawmakers Reach Agreement On $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill

Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said the measure "will allow us to fulfill our constitutional duty to responsibly fund the federal government and avoid a shutdown."

The measure adheres to tight budget caps negotiated previously between the White House and Republicans, freezing agency budgets, on average. It also includes several provisions to fulfill Republican policy objectives, including significantly weakening new regulations that require banks to set up separate affiliates to deal in the more exotic and riskier forms of complex financial instruments called swaps. But some top Democrats, including Appropriations Committee member Nita Lowey of New York, supported the provision, and party leaders didn't appear to try too hard to knock it out.

The measure is laced with trade-offs. Democrats won budget increases for the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission; Republicans won a big cut to the Internal Revenue Service budget and a smaller cut to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Democrats blocked the most ambitious attempts by Republicans to thwart Obama administration regulations on greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming, and on clean water; Republicans again won concessions exempting livestock producers from regulations on greenhouse gases and boosting exports of coal mine equipment.

The compromise spending bill will permit virtually the entire government to operate normally through the Sept. 30, 2015, end of the fiscal year, with the exception of the Homeland Security Department.

Funds for that one agency will run out again on Feb. 27, when Republicans are expected to try to use the expiration as leverage to force Obama to roll back a decision suspending the threat of deportation for an estimated 5 million immigrants living in the country illegally, while providing work permits and eventually making them eligible for benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

Rep. Matt Salmon said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told fellow Republicans at a Wednesday morning party meeting that the immigration "fight will be done at the end of February when the troops, when the cavalry comes," a reference to the looming GOP takeover of the Senate. A fight now could have led to a stalemate with Obama and a government shutdown.

Salmon and conservatives like John Fleming, R-La., said they would oppose the measure.

"To say we're going to come back and fight another day I just don't agree with that," Fleming said. "We've let the Democrats set their agenda as though we lost the election."

GOP leaders distributed a lengthy roster claiming wins on spending cuts and policy. "I think we won on policy, the budget numbers are lower than I ever thought it would be," said Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C.

The overall spending measure reaches into every corner of government, from a provision to ease standards on school meals that were supposed to go into effect in 2017 to funds to restore the iconic Capitol Dome.

Proponents of campaign finance reforms decried a provision slipped in at the last minute that would sharply increase limits on the amount that an individual may contribute to various national political party accounts each year. Those limits would rise from $32,400 to $324,000 for donations to finance parties' national conventions, election recounts and headquarters buildings. That means individuals could give $648,000 in a two-year campaign cycle, with a married couple capped at almost $1.3 million for an election cycle.

"It is only millionaires and billionaires who can give these huge, corrupting contributions," said campaign finance activist Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21.

The pension-related talks between Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., and George Miller, D-Calif., were designed to preserve benefits of current and future retirees at lower levels than currently exist, but higher than they would be if their pension funds ran out of money.

"We have a plan here that first and foremost works for the members of the unions, the workers in these companies, and it works for the companies," said Miller, retiring at year's end after four decades in Congress.

The AARP, which claims to represent millions of retirement-age Americans, attacked the agreement as a "secret, last-minute, closed-door deal between a group of companies, unions and Washington politicians to cut the retirement benefits that have been promised to them."

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