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December 15, 2014

U.S. House And Senate Pass Fiscal Year 2015 Spending Bill

Federal lawmakers reached a deal late last week that will fund most U.S. government agencies through the rest of fiscal year 2015. The House passed the legislation on a 219 to 206 vote on Thursday while the Senate approved the measure Saturday 56 to 40. (Click here to see how your representatives in the House voted and here to see how your senators voted.) 

The bill provides funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through February only. In an effort to keep the Obama Administration from implementing its recent executive order on immigration, Republicans had objected to funding for DHS. The new Congress, which convenes in January, will now have to decide how the Obama Administration will be allowed to handle implementation of the order. 

The funding bill passed last week also sets certain restrictions on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rulemaking. As the National Association of Manufacturers explained, “The bill would stop the Fish and Wildlife Service from finalizing Endangered Species Act listing rules for four species of sage grouse, a bird whose habitat often coincides with fossil fuel development, and for which conservation efforts are already underway” and also “creates exemptions for normal farming operations or ditch maintenance from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Act permitting program, a minor fix to its controversial ‘Waters of the United States’ rule, but a strong signal that a majority of Congress is not pleased with the regulation as currently proposed.” 

The bill also extends for one more year the ban on taxing Internet access, increases the amount of money that political donors can give the national parties, from $32,400 annually to $324,000, and allows the Export-Import Bank to continue financing overseas coal-fired power projects.