US Senate passes $1.1 trillion spending bill
The U.S. Senate passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill late Saturday night, clearing the way for President Barack Obama to sign the bill into law.

The Senate had earlier passed a short-term extension of current spending levels through Wednesday, giving lawmakers time to deliberate the measure.

But defying the need for such a move, the Senate passed the 2015 spending bill in a 56-40 vote, funding the government through Sept. 30, 2015 - the end of next fiscal year.

The spending bill was the most crucial item remaining on Congress' year-end docket. Its passage showed deep divides within Republicans and Democrats, who were nearly evenly split with 31 Democrats joining 24 Republicans in favor of the bill, and 21 Democrats and 18 Republicans voting against it. Two Senate Independents split, with one for and one against.

Obama is expected to sign the 2015 omnibus spending bill into law. While it funds most of the government normally through the end of the fiscal year, it only funds the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 27. That department is central to Republican efforts to try to get Obama to roll-back executive actions he announced earlier this year to exempt roughly five million undocumented persons from deportation.

Earlier Saturday, Republican Senator Ted Cruz raised a point-of-order objection to Obama's effort. That measure was defeated in a 22-74 vote. Republicans split on the measure, with 22 for and 20 against. But with Democrats losing control of the Senate at the start of the next year, future efforts may not be so easily defeated.

Last Modified: 2014-12-14 13:35:28
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