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Obama Signs $1.1 Trillion Budget Deal After Congress Approval

  • VOA Staff

US President Barack Obama reacts as after signing the $1.1 trillion Government Funding Bill into Law at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington December 18, 2015.

US President Barack Obama reacts as after signing the $1.1 trillion Government Funding Bill into Law at the Oval Office of the White House in Washington December 18, 2015.

U.S. lawmakers sent President Barack Obama Friday a $1.1 trillion budget full of federal spending and tax breaks, which the president quickly signed before leaving Washington for his annual holiday vacation.

The Senate voted 65-33 to approve the bill, after the measure cleared the House earlier. Congress then adjourned until January.

The new budget avoids a government shutdown through the 2016 fiscal year and represents highly unusual cooperation between Democrats and Republicans, who in the past have often deadlocked.

Obama said, "I think the system worked" this time. He said budget negotiations were free of the usual acrimony that had plagued budget dealings in the past.

Many attribute the new attitude among the politicians to new House Speaker Paul Ryan, who managed to keep the fiscal hawks in his own Republican Party under control.

Defense spending

The new budget, among other things, increases defense spending, helps to strengthen U.S. cyber security efforts, lifts the 40-year-old ban on U.S. crude oil exports, and creates $690 billion in tax cuts over the next 10 years.

It also reforms the U.S. visa waiver program following the deadly attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.

The budget did not include the defunding of women's health care provider Planned Parenthood, which has been at the center of a political fight about the organization providing abortions and fetal tissue for research groups.

The deal also did not include a controversial measure temporarily halting the program that allows Syrian and Iraqi refugees to enter the country.

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