The Washington Post

Senate approves partial spending measure

The Senate has approved a $182 billion appropriations measure that lays out spending for some government agencies through September and could lead to an agreement with the House that would avoid a spending showdown this month.

By a vote of 69 to 30, the Senate agreed to the bill for agriculture, criminal justice, transportation and housing agencies through fiscal 2012.

The bill groups three of the 12 separate appropriations bills that Congress was supposed to adopt before the fiscal year ended Sept. 30.

Unable to reach agreement with the House, the Senate instead bought time to continue talks with a resolution that extended last year’s spending polices through Nov. 18.

Wary of polling that shows Congress’s public approval rating has dipped to single digits and eager not to distract from the work of the bipartisan “super committee” that is tasked with cutting deficits for years to come, leaders in both chambers have said they are eager to avoid a showdown over next year’s spending that could threaten a government shutdown this month.

They have outlined a complicated process to use the Senate bill approved Tuesday to accomplish the goal.

First, appropriators in both chambers hope to find quick agreement on spending priorities for the areas of government included in the bill.

Then, they could attach a resolution that would keep other areas of the government operating under the same spending policies as last year into December. With one vote — potentially the week of Nov. 14 — Congress could then settle spending for the year for some agencies while buying time to finish their work for the rest of government.

Both chambers agreed on a $1.043 trillion spending ceiling for the year in the August deal that raised the nation’s debt ceiling. Both sides hope the agreement on overall spending, usually the issue that proves most problematic, will smooth agreement in coming weeks.

But some House Republicans have indicated they will oppose any spending measures that don’t cut government even more. And with the most expensive areas of government still to be discussed — including the Pentagon and the Department of Health and Human Services — unexpected fights could crop up.

In the meantime, senators congratulated themselves for getting the spending measure through their own stalemated process. While the House has passed six of the 12 annual spending measures for the year, the Senate had previously adopted only one.

Debate over the measure allowed senators time to propose and debate amendments on topics including agriculture subsidies, terrorist detainee policies and food stamps.

Rosalind Helderman is a political enterprise and investigations reporter for the Washington Post.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
The Democrats debate Thursday. Get caught up on the race.
What to expect tonight
Tonight's debate is likely to focus on the concerns of African American and Latino voters. Clinton has focused in recent days on issues like gun control, criminal-sentencing reform, and the state of drinking water in Flint, Mich. Sanders has been aggressively moving to appeal to the same voters, combining his core message about economic unfairness with his own calls to reform the criminal-justice system.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the polls as he faces rivals Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz heading into the S.C. GOP primary on Feb. 20.
Clinton in New Hampshire: 2008 vs. 2015
Hillary Clinton did about as well in N.H. this year as she did in 2008, percentage-wise. In the state's main counties, Clinton performed on average only about two percentage points worse than she did eight years ago (according to vote totals as of Wednesday morning) -- and in five of the 10 counties, she did as well or better.
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.