In rare bipartisan action, Congress approves $1.1 trillion budget
(CNN) — The Senate on Thursday easily passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through September and sent it to President Barack Obama, a notable departure from chronic, partisan-fueled budget battles in recent years that included the government shutdown last October.
The decisive bipartisan vote, 72-to-26, concluded congressional action that for the first time since 2012 determined federal spending agency by agency instead of through temporary stopgap measures that spotlighted the divisiveness in Washington.
The House approved the budget measure on Wednesday in a strong bipartisan vote of 359-to-67.
“With very few exceptions we’ve heard nothing but positive comments from my colleagues here in the Senate,” Sen. Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican, said on the Senate floor as the vote neared.
Democrats were just as eager to brag about the budget as an example of a Congress that can indeed function.
“These efforts show that we Democrats and Republicans can work together for the good of the country,” said one of the people most responsible for the bill, Appropriations Committee Chairman Barbara Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat. “We can avoid drama … fiscal cliffs and shutdowns.”
The sweeping bill hits nearly every corner of government. It includes a 1 percent pay increase for troops and a 1 percent cost-of-living boost for federal workers.
It also rolls back planned spending cuts at a number of agencies and programs, like the FBI and Head Start.
But it is less kind to other parts of government, like the Environmental Protection Agency and the IRS, which have seen their budgets slashed in the past three years.
Obama is expected to sign the measure.