Congress Sends Massive Year-End Spending Bill, Tax-Break Package To President’s Desk

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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A massive $1.1 trillion year-end spending measure, which merged with a $622 billion tax-extender package in the Senate, is slated to be signed into law after the legislation easily made it through the upper chamber Friday.

The omnibus passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan approval earlier in the day while the Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes Act made it through the lower chamber Thursday.

The sweeping spending bill will keep the government funded through September 2016, while the tax measure will make a number of tax breaks permanent, extend dozens of expired tax incentives and reigns in the power of the IRS.

“By passing this important tax package that provides permanent relief for American families and job creators, we cap a year of historic policy victories under the Republican-led Senate and lay the groundwork for comprehensive tax reform moving forward,”Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch said in a statement after the vote. “Congress is back to work for the American people.”

Just one of the four Republican senators running for president — Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina — supported the bill. Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas voted against the measure, saying it does too much to fund Barack Obama’s administration’s agenda and provides few wins for conservatives. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida also came out against the legislation, but was not present for the vote.

“The 2,242-page bill will do nothing to stop the flow of refugees from terrorist countries and expand big government’s intrusion into every American’s internet activity,” Paul said in a statement sent to TheDCNF after the vote. “I cannot and will not support any legislation that adds debt on top of debt and enables President Obama’s lawlessness.”

Negotiators spent weeks hashing out the deals, passing two continuing resolutions to buy more time to strike a compromise while keeping the government funded. Both the tax-break package and 2,009-page spending bill were rolled out in the middle of the night. The tax extenders package came out just before midnight Tuesday, while the omnibus came out around 1:30 a.m.Wednesday morning.

Passing the legislation was Congress’ last task for 2015 as lawmakers are set to recess for the holidays.

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