Democrats, Obama part on $1.1T spending bill

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Congress $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill Unveiled
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Democrats, Obama part on $1.1T spending bill
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
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
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
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 $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.
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 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)
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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Swapping crisis for compromise, the House narrowly approved $1.1 trillion in government-wide spending Thursday night after President Barack Obama and Republicans joined forces to override Democratic complaints that the bill would also ease bank regulations imposed after the economy's near-collapse in 2008.

The 219-206 vote cleared the way for a final showdown in the Senate on the bill - the last major measure of a two-year Congress far better known for gridlock than for bipartisan achievement.

Hours before the vote, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi delivered a rare public rebuke to Obama, saying she was "enormously disappointed" he had decided to embrace legislation that she described as an attempt at blackmail by Republicans.

The White House stated its own objections to the bank-related proposal and other portions of the bill in a written statement. Even so, officials said Obama and Vice President Joe Biden both telephoned Democrats to secure the votes needed for passage, and the president stepped away from a White House Christmas party reception line to make last-minute calls.

In addition to the government funding, the bill also sets a new course for selected, highly shaky pension plans.

Despite the day's drama, 57 Democrats supported the bill, including two of the top three party leaders and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who doubles as the chair of the Democratic National Committee.

The outbreak of Democratic bickering left Republicans in the unusual position of bystanders rather than participants with the federal government due to run out of funds at midnight.

Even so, there was no threat of a shutdown in federal services - and no sign of the brinkmanship that marked other, similar episodes. Instead, the House passed a measure providing a 48-hour extension in existing funding to give the Senate time to act on the larger bill.

Said a relieved Speaker John Boehner, "thank you and merry Christmas."

Hours before the mid-evening final vote, conservatives had sought to torpedo the measure because it would leave Obama's immigration policy unchallenged. Boehner patrolled the noisy, crowded House floor looking for enough GOP converts to keep it afloat.

He found them - after the vote to move ahead on the bill went into overtime - in retiring Rep. Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan as well as Rep. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana. The vote was 214-212.

Even so, Republican defections required Boehner and supporters of the measure to seek Democratic votes for passage. "Remember this bill was put together in a bicameral, bipartisan way," he said. Officials in both parties said Pelosi was fully informed of the bill's contents before it was released to the public, and did not signal her opposition.

If there was political drama in the House, there was something approaching tenderness in the Senate, where several lawmakers are ending their careers. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., choked up as he delivered a farewell speech from his desk, and Republicans and Democrats alike rose to applaud him when he finished speaking.

The spending measure was one of a handful on the year-end agenda, with the others ranging from an extension of expiring tax breaks to a bill approving Obama's policy for arming Syrian forces fighting Islamic State forces.

The $1.1 trillion legislation would provide funding for nearly the entire government through the end of the budget year next Sept. 30, and lock in cuts negotiated in recent years between the White House and a tea party-heavy Republican rank and file.

The only exception is the Department of Homeland Security. It is funded only through Feb. 27, when the specter of a shutdown will be absent and Republicans hope to force the president to roll back an immigration policy that promises work visas to an estimated 5 million immigrants living in the country illegally.

When Congress convenes in January, Republicans will have control of the Senate for the first time in eight years and will hold their strongest majority in the House in more than eight decades.

A provision in the big bill relating to financially failing multi-employer pension plans would allow cuts for current retirees, and supporters said it was part of an effort to prevent a slow-motion collapse of a system that provides retirement income to millions.

"The multi-employer pension system is a ticking time bomb," said Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., who negotiated the agreement privately with Democratic Rep. George Miller of California, who is retiring after 40 years in Congress.

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. estimates that the fund that backs multi-employer plans is about $42.4 billion short of the money needed to cover benefits for plans that have failed or will fail.

Miller said the legislation would give retirees the right to vote in advance whether to enter a restructuring that could cut their benefits. He, Kline and others said the alternative to the legislation might be an even deeper reduction in benefits.

The legislation drew a mixed reaction from unions and the opposition of the AARP, but the White House written statement on the legislation did not mention it as a concern.

The White House did raise objections to a provision that would roll back one of the regulations imposed on the financial industry after the economic near-collapse of 2008, and to a separate element of the bill that would permit wealthy contributors to increase the size of their donations to political parties for national conventions, election recounts or the construction of a headquarters building.

Democrats cited the same issues, but Boehner on Wednesday rejected their request to jettison either or both of the provisions. Republicans noted that 70 members of the Democratic rank and file supported easing the bank regulations on a stand-alone vote in October of last year.

Remarkably, there was relatively little controversy about the spending levels themselves that form the heart of the bill.

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Associated Press writers Stephen Ohlemacher, Erica Werner, Alan Fram and Charles Babington contributed to this report.

House Averts Shutdown, Passes Spending Bill

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