WASHINGTON (AFP) – US congressional negotiators finalized a huge spending bill late Tuesday that funds most federal operations through next September, concluding weeks of haggling to avoid a looming government shutdown.
The $1.1-trillion measure, which includes money for anti-radical militant operations including training for moderate rebels in Syria, was agreed to with little time to spare before funding runs out at 11.59 pm Thursday.
“This bill will allow us to fulfil our constitutional duty to responsibly fund the federal government and avoid a shutdown,” Republican House Appropriations chairman Hal Rogers said after the marathon haggling concluded.
The measure combines an omnibus package funding nearly all of government through the end of fiscal year 2015.
But it sets up a showdown next February over President Barack Obama’s immigration policy.
Funding for the Department of Homeland Security would limp along for two months under a continuing resolution, a form of punishment against Obama for his unilateral action to shield millions from deportation.
DHS will implement most of the executive order on immigration, and Republicans want to revisit its funding levels when Congress meets next year under full Republican control.
The bill contains $1.014 trillion in discretionary domestic spending, plus $64 billion in military overseas contingency operations in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
It provides for counterterrorism cooperation with countries like Yemen, Libya and Somalia, funds $5 billion for operations to counter the Islamic State extremist group, including $1.6 billion to train Iraqi and Kurdish security forces, and re-authorises a Pentagon programme for up to $500 million to train and equip vetted Syrian opposition members.
It also provides $5.4 billion in emergency funding to respond to the Ebola crisis – slightly less than the $6 billion requested by Obama.
It earmarks $175 million for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence shield, part of a $347 million request by Israel for missile defence programmes.
Leadership aides acknowledged the House will have to pass a short-term funding extension to keep the lights on beyond the shutdown deadline, as the Senate might need an extra day or two to debate and vote on the bill.