WASHINGTON -- Congress has easily passed a $1.1 trillion bill easing the harshest effects of last year's automatic spending cuts after tea party critics chastened by the government shutdown in October mounted only a faint protest.
The sweeping 72-26 Senate vote to fund the government through September sends the bill to the White House for President Barack Obama's signature before a midnight Saturday deadline. The House easily passed the bill on Wednesday. The huge bill funds every agency of government, pairing increases for NASA and Army Corps of Engineers construction projects with cuts to the Internal Revenue Service and foreign aid.
It pays for implementation of Obama's health care law. A fight over implementing "Obamacare" sparked tea party Republicans to partially shut down the government for 16 days in October.