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Congress passes massive funding bill to keep government open (for now)

A $1.1 trillion government spending bill is headed to the president’s desk. 

The Senate voted 72-26 to approve the bill, which funds the government until October. The House approved it on Wednesday by a vote of  359-67. 

The spending bill, termed an “omnibus,” rolls 12 appropriations packages into one massive piece of legislation that clocks in at 1,582 pages. 

It contains funds for everything from aid to Israel and Egypt to the fight against Asian carp in the Great Lakes. 

It also restores unpopular cuts to cost-of-living increases in the pensions of disabled veterans. 

Outside conservative groups like the anti-tax Club for Growth and the Heritage Foundation’s political arm opposed the bill, saying it failed to curb spending and eliminate waste. 

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., announced his opposition to the spending bill earlier Thursday, arguing that it contains pork barrel projects and that few if any lawmakers had time to read the massive bill before voting. 

“We cannot continue this process where massive, un-amendable, thousand-plus page spending bills totaling trillions of dollars are voted on two days after being made available to members of this body. No senator could have read and fully understood the long-term impact the policy and spending provisions this bill will have on the future of this nation,” he said. 

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, also tried unsuccessfully to introduce amendments to the legislation to defund the Obama health care law. 

But the bill got bipartisan support from lawmakers weary of the threat of government shutdowns and relieved by the bipartisan compromise forged by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. 

And both sides won some concessions in the bill’s drafting. 

Republicans maintained a ban on the use of federal money for abortions, and they inserted language to prevent the enforcement of a ban on incandescent light bulbs.  Democrats cheered boosts to Head Start funding and pay raises for federal workers. The president’s party also staved off substantial threats to Obamacare.