Three Republicans, Sens. Thad Cochran (Mississippi), Richard Shelby (Alabama) and Susan Collins (Maine) voted with the Democrats. So this is not just a Democratic Party problem, although mostly it is.
The Democratic-controlled Senate on Saturday cleared away a Republican filibuster of a huge end-of-year spending bill that rewards most federal agencies with generous budget boosts.
The $1.1 trillion measure combines much of the year's unfinished budget work — only a $626 billion Pentagon spending measure would remain — into a 1,000-plus-page spending bill that would give the Education Department, the State Department, the Department of Health and Human Services and others increases far exceeding inflation....
The measure provides spending increases averaging about 10 percent to programs under immediate control of Congress, blending increases for veterans' programs, NASA and the FBI with a pay raise for federal workers and help for car dealers...
Just the $626 billion defense bill would remain. That's being held back to serve as a vehicle to advance must-pass legislation such as a plan to allow the government's debt to swell by nearly $2 trillion. The government's total debt has nearly doubled in the past seven years and is expected to exceed the current ceiling of $12.1 trillion before Jan. 1.
And notice the neat little trick of leaving the defense budget for last, knowing the political difficulties that would be caused if Republicans filibustered only the defense appropriations bill.
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