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Thu December 15, 2011
Republicans Unveil $1 Trillion Spending Bill, Possible Shutdown Still Looms
The political wrangling continues in Washington as Republicans and Democrats try to get their priorities enacted even as several key deadlines fast approach.
Overnight, as The Associated Press reports, Republicans in the House "unveiled a massive $1 trillion-plus year-end spending package despite a plea from the White House for additional talks over a handful of provisions opposed by President Barack Obama."
The wire service adds that:
"The measure unveiled late Wednesday curbs agency budgets but drops many policy provisions sought by GOP conservatives. But it contains language to roll back Obama administration policies that had loosened restrictions on the rights of Cuban immigrants to send money to relatives in Cuba or travel back to the island to visit them. Earlier this year, the White House promised a veto over the proposals. ...
"The spending measure had been held up by Senate Democrats seeking leverage in talks on extending payroll tax cuts and unemployment insurance — two pillars of Obama's jobs agenda.
"But Democratic leverage to stall the massive spending measure seems limited, since it raises the threat of a government shutdown [this weekend]."
The Washington Post sounds an ominous note: "Negotiations over how to extend a payroll tax holiday for 160 million Americans and avoid a government shutdown this weekend ground to a halt Wednesday after a standoff in the Senate over how to proceed."
Politico says that "waiting until past midnight and with little notice, the House Appropriations Committee early Thursday released details of a $1 trillion plus spending package that had been largely resolved with Senate Democrats but is now at risk of unraveling in a government shutdown fight driven by 2012 politics and a debate over tax cuts."