US House approves $1.6 trillion spending Bill

WASHINGTON • The US House approved yesterday a US$1.1 trillion (S$1.6 trillion) spending package for next year which, if passed by Senate as expected, would avert a government shutdownbefore year-end holidays.

The bipartisan compromise – which also tightens visa requirements, proposes reforms to the International Monetary Fund and lifts a ban on United States crude oil exports – was passed easily by a vote of 316 to 113.

The Senate was to vote later in the day, and the White House said President Barack Obama would sign the measure into law.

Dealmakers and congressional leaders worked overtime this week, cajoling members on both sides into backing the huge legislation. Known as an “omnibus”, the spending Bill became a catch-all that includes priorities of both parties, and leaves out somepet projects thatmadeit difficult for someto sign on.

Said House Speaker Paul Ryan: “The House came together to ensure our government is open and working for the American people.”

The Bill increases defence spending, given the unrest in the Middle East and the increased spectre of terrorism.

“The legislation strengthens our military and protects Americans from terrorist threats, while limiting... intrusive government bureaucracies like the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency,” MrRyan added.

AGENCEFRANCE-PRESSE