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Obama signs $1.1T spending bill into law

Obama signs $1.1T spending bill into law

President Obama signed the $1.1 trillion federal spending measure into law Tuesday, officially ending any threat of a government shutdown over the holidays.

The bill appropriates $554 billion for the Defense Department for fiscal 2015 and gives the Veterans Affairs Department $160 billion. Both departments had been operating off temporary, lower-spending resolutions since October.

It also fully funds operations for every other federal department for the rest of fiscal 2015 except the Homeland Security Department. That agency received funding only through February, after conservatives in Congress objected to Obama’s recent executive action delaying deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants.

The result is that the new Republican-controlled Congress will argue over that department’s long-term fate when the new congressional session starts next month, but other unrelated government programs and benefits won’t be held hostage by that fight.

The agreement barely passed the House earlier this month and needed a marathon Senate session this weekend to finally pass the lame-duck Congress.

Under the measure, the Pentagon would receive $490 billion in base defense spending and another $64 billion in overseas contingency funds.

It includes a 1 percent pay raise for troops in 2015 — lower than the 1.8 percent anticipated rate of average private-sector wage growth — and a 1 percent reduction in housing stipends inflation growth next year. Both moves were requested by Pentagon leaders to help slow the growth of personnel spending accounts.

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