Story by LA Times

Congress gave final approval Friday to one of the most ambitious legislative packages in years, including a $1.1-trillion funding bill, nearly $650 billion in tax breaks and dozens of other policy initiatives. The measure now goes to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law.

The omnibus spending bill averts another shutdown and keeps the federal government running through September 2016. Senate approval, by a 65-33 vote, followed overwhelming passage in the House on Thursday and Friday. It represented a rare bipartisan compromise as lawmakers headed out of Washington for the holiday recess.

The package lifts the decades-long ban on U.S. crude oil exports and imposes new U.S. visa restrictions for some foreigners who have visited countries with links to terrorism. Dozens of tax breaks will be extended or made permanent, including some for renewable energy developmentbusiness expenses and depreciation, child tax credits and assistance for low-income households. Democrats accepted the oil provision as a trade-off to block other Republican efforts, including an attempt to cut funds to Planned Parenthood and Obamacare.

The measure reverses automatic “sequester” cuts that were set to take effect for most government spending, and will boost funds for the Pentagon and domestic programs, including cancer research and college Pell Grants.

There were last-minute fears that the Friday morning House vote would be close after some Democrats hinted they might withhold their support for the spending bill over objections to the provision lifting the oil export ban. But ultimately most Democrats and Republicans voted for it, 316-113.


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