Here is a quote:
"The House has passed a $1 trillion-plus catchall budget bill paying for day-to-day budgets of 10 Cabinet departments and averting a government shutdown.
The 296-121 vote to approve the measure represented a rare moment of bipartisanship in a polarized Capitol. Lawmakers are also seeking compromise on separate legislation to renew jobless benefits and a cut in payroll taxes.
The vote sends the measure to the Senate, which was expected to pass it on Saturday.
The bill puts in place budget curbs mandated under an August pact between President Barack Obama and Congress. It trims spending for most domestic agencies and awards the Pentagon the smallest budget hike in recent memory. It pays for overseas military operations and a slew of programs ranging from border security to flood control to combating AIDS and famine in Africa.
Many provisions sought by House Republicans were dropped from the bill before its passage, and Democrats blocked a series of GOP assaults on Environmental Protection Agency regulations, though the agency's budget absorbed a cut of more than 3 percent.
GOP leaders did succeed in halting new rules requiring energy efficient light bulbs, delays in regulations of coal dust and eliminating federal funding of needle exchange programs.
War costs would be $115 billion, a $43 billion cut from the previous year.
The bill chips away at the Pentagon budget, foreign aid and environmental spending but boosts funding for veterans programs. The Securities and Exchange Commission, responsible for enforcing new regulations under last year's financial overhaul, won a 10 percent budget increase, even as the tax-collecting IRS absorbed a more than 3 percent cut to its budget.
Popular education initiatives for special-needs children and disadvantaged schools were basically frozen, and Obama's cherished "Race to the Top" initiative, which provides grants to better-performing schools, would absorb a more than 20 percent cut. The maximum Pell grant for low-income college students would remain at $5,550, but only after major cost-cutting moves that would limit the number of semesters the grants may be received and make income eligibility standards more strict.
As part of a compromise struck late Thursday, the funding bill specifically prohibits "czars" related to health care, climate change, the auto industry and urban affairs.
The Obama administration has already done away with all of those czars - and the White House has noted that the Bush administration also used czars.
The White House first named Steve Rattner as "car czar" in February 2009, and he oversaw the bankruptcy reorganizations of General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC.
Rattner was replaced by Ron Bloom in July 2009. He stepped down in January overseeing the $85 billion auto industry bailout to focus on manufacturing. He left the White House in August. Tim Massad, an assistant Treasury secretary, oversees the auto and bank bailouts.
The administration has given no timetable when it might sell its remaining 26.5 percent stake in GM, or its 74 percent stake in Detroit-based lender Ally Financial Inc. The Treasury said in a report last month it estimates it will lose $23.6 billion on the auto bailout.
The bill also includes $255 million to maintain production of the Abrams tank, part of Michigan's defense industrial base for 30 years. The bill funds tank upgrades at a rate of 70 per year - the level sought by Rep. Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak.
The Pentagon had proposed to halt production until 2017.
"This is an important victory for Michigan and the nation," Levin said. "The tank upgrade program is critical to ensuring our troops are protected on the battlefield and vital to Southeast Michigan's defense corridor."
Earlier this year, the Pentagon proposed to halt tank upgrades in 2013 and then restart tank production in 2017.
The Abrams tank program is run by General Dynamics Land Systems based in Sterling Heights and more than 200 Michigan businesses provide parts and engineering services to upgrade older M1 tanks to the more advanced M1A2 SEP version of the vehicle.
The budget also includes $6 million for the Energy Department to administer the $25 billion auto loan retooling program. About $9.2 billion has awarded in loans to help automakers retool old factories to build more fuel efficient models. House Republicans had sought to cut $1.5 billion from the $7.5 billion that Congress approved in 2008 to subsidize the loans.
Many other start-ups and automakers - including Chrysler Group LLC - are awaiting loans from the program..."
From: Detroit News at
With the election of 2012 on the horizon I'm not surprised to see Mr. Obama and the dems compromising in a way that can be pleasantly spun in the media. I wonder if the elimination of czars is real and will be long lasting. I see the use of czars and the various lettered agencies as a circumvention of our representatives and potentially manipulative if not oppressive by nature. Unless we want the USA to become a fascist state we need OUR government to completely get out of the business sector including Fanny Mae and Freddie Mack. While I wish our automotive industry could return to the status it once had, painful as it may be; these corporations must be allowed to go bankrupt, reform and renegotiate with the unions etc. Insider trading needs to mean jail time for our representatives as well as the private citizen. We have GOT to start recalling, impeaching and charging corrupt and treasonous representatives as well as voting out those representatives that simply fail to reflect the Constitution and the clearly voiced opinions of the American people and regain control of OUR government! But, I'm pleased we are making our own tanks as opposed to having China making them. I strongly believe that all weapons and weapons systems should be made in the USA.
Luckily, the US Congress has finally agreed on the FY 2012 budget plan-while it is another $1 trillion! (Bloomberg, today) They have cut some US federally-funded college student aid and also foreign aid programs. Also, the: payroll tax cut (from Social Security); federal aid for state unemployment insurance extension; and also Canadian/US oil pipeline approval appear to remain separate, at this point. (Same) Here is a quote:
"The U.S. Congress cleared a $1 trillion spending bill to avert a government shutdown.
The Senate yesterday voted 67-32 for the budget measure, with 30 Republicans opposed, one day after the House approved it 296-121. The bill, which funds the government for the rest of the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2012, now heads to President Barack Obama for his signature.
A stopgap plan keeping federal agencies operating was to expire Dec. 16, though Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada had said the government should be unaffected if the Senate waited until yesterday to vote. To be safe, lawmakers passed another temporary measure funding the government one more day.
Lawmakers yesterday hailed the budget plan as a rare bipartisan compromise on spending in a year otherwise dominated by inconclusive debates over the U.S. budget deficit.
“This measure represents a victory for compromise, a victory for American taxpayers and a victory for bipartisanship,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye, a Hawaii Democrat.
In the House, 86 Republicans voted against the bill; 149 Democrats supported it.
Funding Government Operations
The 1,200-page measure will fund the day-to-day operations of hundreds of government programs across 10 Cabinet agencies. It sets the budgets for the Departments of Defense, Education, Treasury, State, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security and Labor, among other agencies.
The spending bill had been snarled in a dispute over how to extend a payroll-tax cut into 2012 as well as expanded unemployment benefits, which also expire at year’s end. The Senate yesterday passed a two-month payroll tax cut extension, 89-10, sending it to the U.S. House.
Lawmakers made some last-minute changes to the spending measure, such as killing provisions targeting Obama’s Cuba policies. Republicans had included language blocking his decision to loosen restrictions on travel and sending money to the Communist country..."