WASHINGTON (AP) — Time running short, Republicans and Democrats agreed Tuesday on a $1.1 trillion spending bill to avoid a government shutdown and delay a politically-charged struggle over President Barack Obama’s new immigration policy until the new year.
In an unexpected move, lawmakers also agreed on legislation expected to be incorporated into the spending measure that will permit a reduction in benefits for current retirees at economically distressed multiemployer pension plans. Supporters said it was part of an effort to prevent a slow-motion collapse of a system that provides retirement income to millions, but critics objected vehemently.
There was no immediate reaction from the White House to the bill.
At 1,603 pages, the spending bill adheres to strict caps negotiated earlier between the White House and deficit- conscious Republicans, and is also salted with GOP policy proposals. As described by unhappy liberals, one would roll back new regulations that prohibit banks from using federal deposit insurance to cover investments on some complex financial instruments.
Elsewhere, there were trade-offs. Republicans won a $60 million cut at the Environmental Protection Agency, and said the agency’s workforce would be reduced to the lowest level since 1989. Democrats emerged with increases for enforcement activities at the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
“The federal government’s going to run out of money in two days. … We’ve been trying to work with Republican leaders to avoid a shutdown,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said at midafternoon as final negotiations dragged on.
Speaker John Boehner said he hoped for a vote on the measure on Thursday, and officials expressed confidence they could overcome opposition from tea party-backed Republicans and avoid a government shutdown.
By Associated Press –