President Barack Obama signed Congress’ $1.1 trillion spending bill on Tuesday, putting an official end to the last-minute negotiations for the fiscal year 2015 budget — at least for now.
The Senate voted 56-40 late Saturday for the bill, which funds most agencies through September. The House of Representatives voted last week on the spending package, passing it by a vote of 219-206.
Shaun Donovan, director of the Office of Management and Budget, hailed the spending bill as the second consecutive year of stable funding for agencies since the 2008 financial crisis. However, he said the budget for fiscal year 2015 isn’t perfect.
“The legislation is a compromise and no one got everything they wanted. But, it is a step towards proving that a divided government can work without governing by crisis or threatening an economic recovery that’s growing stronger,” Donovan said in a statement.
The “cromnibus” bill (part omnibus and part continuing resolution) funds most agencies through the end of fiscal year 2015. The only exception is the Department of Homeland Security, which is funded through Feb. 27 when the specter of a shutdown will be absent and Republicans hope to force the President to roll back his new immigration policy.
Under the cromnibus, blue-collar and General Schedule employees receive a 1 percent pay raise. So does the military. Negotiators maintained the spending ceiling set by the bipartisan deal that ended last year’s government shutdown. Both the EPA and IRS lose money under the bill. EPA’s budget drops by $61 million, while the IRS’ budget is cut by roughly 3 percent to $10.9 billion.
Late last week, the Senate wrapped up another big piece of legislation, passing the National Defense Authorization Act for 2015 by a vote of 89-11. The bill authorizes funds for basic military operations, including construction of new ships, aircraft, and weapons as well as a 1 percent pay raise for the troops. Service members will now pay $3 more for co-pays on prescription drugs. The bill also trims the growth of the off-base housing allowance by 1 percent.
Before leaving for the year, the Senate also passed a series of tax extenders already passed by the House. One of the items included in the bill will retroactively increase the mass transit benefit for federal employees and other workers for 2014.