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Appropriations and Policy Update

FY 2010 Appropriations

On December 10, the House passed an omnibus appropriations bill (221-202) which included 6 of the 7 remaining appropriation bills.  Those bills in the omnibus included: Transportation/ HUD; Commerce, Justice and Science; Financial Services; Labor, Health and Human Services; Military Construction/Veterans Affairs; and State and Foreign Operations.  The Senate passed the omnibus bill on December 13 by a vote of 57-35, and was signed by President Obama on December 16.

The House passed the $626 billion Defense appropriations bill on December 16 by a vote of 395-34.  Included in the spending bill were three other key pieces of legislation the House and Senate had needed to pass before adjourning for the holiday recess. The first was a sort term Continuing Resolution which funded the government through December 24 allowing the Senate time to pass the Defense appropriations bill.  The second piece of legislation was to increase the debt limit by $200 billion to a total of $1.9 trillion which is aimed at carrying the federal government into December 2010.  The final measure was a jobs creation bill which uses $150 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program to create infrastructure jobs and extends unemployment and health benefits, food stamps, and Medicaid assistance to states.  The Senate passed the Defense appropriations bill on December 19 by a vote of 88-10 and the bill was signed by President Obama that same day.

Health Care Reform

After 24 straight days in session the Senate passed its version of health care reform legislation on the morning of December 24 by a vote of 60-39.  The Senate version costs slightly less than the House version and does not contain a public option which the House bill does.  The Democratic leadership is hoping to conference the House and Senate bills and have the President sign the legislation into law prior to his State of the Union address.

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