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Congress Approves Massive Spending And Tax Cut Legislation

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Legislation funding the government and providing billions of dollars in tax breaks has cleared both the House and Senate, averting another government shutdown.

The Senate voted 65 to 33 in favor of legislation combining a $1.1 trillion spending bill with the $622 billion tax break package on Friday.

Twenty-six Republicans voted against the Senate bill along with six Democrats and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

The vote in the Senate came after the House passed the bills separately, voting 316 to 113 in favor of the spending bill on Friday after voting 318 to 109 in favor of the tax breaks on Thursday.

The spending package, officially known as the omnibus, funds the federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year ending September 30, 2016 while also providing money for lawmakers' various pet projects.

The bill also includes language reforming the Visa Waiver program, lifting the ban on U.S. oil exports and delaying a provision in Obamacare known as the "Cadillac tax."

The tax cut package includes a laundry list of tax breaks for businesses, investors and families and makes a number of temporary tax provisions permanent.

The package included tax cuts favored by lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, although some Democrats complained the bill is tilted in favor of businesses and expressed concerns about the cost.

While the spending bill is in line with the Bipartisan Budget Act enacted in November, budget watchdogs have expressed concerns the tax cuts are not paid for by spending cuts or other tax offsets

The bipartisan, non-profit Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said the tax breaks will cost about $680 billion over ten years, or about $830 billion after interest.

President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill later Friday before traveling to visit families of the San Bernardino terrorist attack en route to his vacation in Hawaii.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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