Congress approves minibus spending bill, sends to Obama

The Senate followed the lead of the House on Thursday, easily passing a 2012 "minibus" spending bill that also contains a continuing spending resolution keeping the government running through December 16.

The legislation next heads to the president for a signature, likely on Friday.

The bill, H.R. 2112, was approved in a 70-30 vote in which Senate conservatives and some moderate Republican opposed it. All fifty-seven Democrats and the two independents voted in favor of the bill. 

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Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) was the only senator to raise his voice against the spending legislation in the two-hours of debate that led up to the vote arguing that once again Congress was abdicating its responsibility to cut spending. 

"I don't think the American people know how badly they have been hoodwinked by the Congress," said Coburn, prior to the vote. "This bill should be defeated...we are running out of money." 

More Democrats and Republicans, however, spoke out in favor of the legislation. Some Republicans, like Sen. Roy Blunt (Mo.), noted it met the spending caps imposed by the summer's Budget Control Act and came in from the conference at even lower numbers than the original Senate version.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) hailed the bipartisan process that lead to passage as an example of how the Congress ought to work.

The bill was approved earlier in the day in the House by a 298-121 vote in which more Democrats supported it than Republicans. Among Democrats, 165 supported the bill and 20 opposed it, while 133 Republicans supported it and 101 opposed it.


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