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Lawmakers Agree on $1 Trillion Spending Bill That Puts No Limits on Obama's Immigration Action


"...essential security functions for the next few months..."

House and Senate leaders finally released the text of a 1,600-page, $1 trillion spending bill for 2015 on Tuesday night that the House hopes to pass by Thursday, likely over the objections of many Republicans who wanted something tougher on immigration.

Conservative Republicans have been pushing for language that would prevent President Barack Obama from spending any money to implement his immigration plan. But as expected, that language didn't make it in, which means Republicans would have to revisit that issue next year.

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 9.28.43 PM House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) worked with his Senate Democratic counterpart to produce a $1 trillion spending bill that should pass, but doesn't stop Obama's immigration plan.
Image: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File

The bill does fund the Department of Homeland Security only through February 27. GOP leaders were expected to fund DHS for a shorter time period in order to let them reconsider immigration early next year, when Republicans run both the House and the Senate and will have more leverage over the White House.

"This bill will allow us to fulfill our constitutional duty to responsibly fund the federal government and avoid a shutdown," said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.). "And by continuing current funding levels for the Department of Homeland Security, we allow the agency to maintain essential security functions for the next few months."

Still, the lack of immigration language will likely mean a few dozen Republicans will vote against the bill when it comes up for a vote later this week. Republicans may need a few votes from Democrats, but negotiators appear to have taken their time to find a balance that will allow enough Democrats to support it.

Passage of a shorter-term spending bill is expected this week, which will let the government stay open past December 11. The House is expected to pass the bill by Thursday, followed by the Senate a few days later.

In terms of funding, the bill provides $1.013 trillion for discretionary federal government operations, in line with the caps both parties have agreed to for the year. On defense, it spends $64 billion for overseas war efforts, which will let the U.S. help train foreign fighters to battle the Islamic State.

It also spends $5.4 billion on funding to fight Ebola around the world.

It includes several GOP-favored proposals, a reflection of the Republicans' leverage in the House and its pending majority int he Senate. For example, it includes language denying ay new funding for Obamacare (although it doesn't try to defund the health law, as some wanted). It also provides no new funding for the IRS, which will help implement the law, and it makes a small cut to the IRS enforcement budget.

Earlier this year, House Republicans wanted to cut hundreds of millions more from IRS enforcement. Also related to the IRS, the bill would ban the IRS from targeting groups based on their politics.

Like past spending bills, the so-called omnibus bill bans public funding for abortions in the federal government and in the District of Columbia. It also bans Democratic-favored light bulb standards, limits government travel for conferences, and stops the transfer or release of Guantanamo detainees into the United States.

On the environment, the bill blocks the EPA from regulating farm ponds and irrigation ditches under clean water rules, and a ban on putting the sage-grouse on the endangered species list.

Finally, it blocks any pay freeze for Vice President Joe Biden and senior political appointees.

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