Dec 17, 2007

House passes $516 billion spending bill

By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The House Monday approved a $516 billion measure funding 14 Cabinet agencies and funding for troops in Afghanistan, setting the stage for a year-end budget deal with the White House.
President Bush has signaled he'll ultimately sign the measure — assuming up to $40 billion more is provided by the Senate for the Iraq war — despite opposition from GOP conservatives.
In an unusual two-step, lawmakers first voted 253-154 to approve the omnibus spending bill; they then voted 206-201 to add $31 billion for troops in Afghanistan to the measure. The combined $516 billion spending package is set for Senate debate on Tuesday.
The year-end measure mostly sticks within Bush's budget, though it shifts billions of dollars into politically sensitive programs he sought to cut. Bush signaled he would sign the measure, awarding a 4 percent increase, on average, to domestic programs.
Bush's approval depends on Senate Republicans succeeding, later this week, in adding up to $40 billion for U.S. troops in Iraq.

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