U.S. Senate passes $410 billion spending bill

The U.S. Senate today voted 62-35 to end debate on H.R. 1105, the $410 billion omnibus spending bill which I included in my story on earmarks this past Sunday; the bill quickly passed on a voice vote and now is on its way to President Barack Obama’s desk to be signed into law.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., issued a statement lauding the bill’s passage, calling it “long overdue.” This bill makes up for the fact that only three of the twelve annual appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2009 (ending Sept. 30, 2009) made it out of Congress last year, the other nine slain by then-President Bush’s veto threats. Much of the federal government has been operating under continuing resolutions since Oct. 1; without this bill, agencies would have shut down or been forced to continue operations at their FY’08 funding levels.

“Without the funds included in this Omnibus bill, the federal government will be unable to cover the operating costs of critical agencies like the Army Corps of Engineers, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Justice Department, the Internal Revenue Service, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Peace Corps or the Postal Service,” Feinstein said. “I believe it’s vital to pass this bill in order to carry out the work of these departments, as well as critical projects in the states during this period of dramatic economic uncertainty. So I urge President Obama to sign this bill into law quickly.”

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., sent out a flurry of news releases explaining the earmarks she’d sought — more often than not, in tandem with House members — for various parts of the state; read her Bay Area list here.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.