The Senate has passed the omnibus spending bill this morning – averting a threat of a government shutdown.
The deal on nine appropriations bills grouped together in a so-called Megabus, passed by a vote of 67-32, called by Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del. at 11 a.m.
Late Thursday, the House and Senate negotiated the $ 1 trillion omnibus to package the nine remaining appropriations bills through the end of the fiscal year 2012.
The House passed the measure Friday night, assuring that a government shutdown would not happen with the promise that the Senate would vote for the measure today.
With the Senate vote today, the bill will now head to President Obama’s desk for his signature.
The vote drew animated and at times fierce rhetoric over the way the bill was pushed through Congress quickly.
“Here we are again, a bill 1,221 pages long. Not one member of this committee has read of — of this body has read…1,221 pages representing $915 billion of the taxpayers’ money,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said on the Senate floor this morning sarcastically. “It’s outrageous. I have amendments to save the taxpayers billions of dollars as associated with this bill. But never mind because we’re going to go home for Christmas.”
Senator Tom Coburn, R-Okla. said the passage of this spending bill is a “failure” for the American people.
“We’re going to go home, we’re going to pass this bill, far less than what the country needs in terms of its integrity and its actions,” Coburn said. “Hopefully, we will think and return with a renewed spirit to fix the ship of state, and do what is in the best interest of the nation, not is what in the best interest of our parochial political careers.”
With this vote, it brings what should be the last vote in the Senate this year.
Senators are now free to return to their home districts for the holiday.
While the House of Representatives still has to vote on the payroll tax cut plan, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., seemed confident enough that they too will pass the bill to declare that today’s vote is the last of the year for the Senate.
“This is the last roll call vote of this year. Have a happy holiday everyone,” Reid said on the Senate floor.