US Congress passes 2016 spending bill

Washington, Dec 19 (IANS) The US Congress passed a spending bill that will fund the federal government for fiscal year 2016.

It includes $1.14 trillion for expenses over the next 10 months and $680 billion in tax cuts for business investment, low-income working families and more, Efe news agency reported.

President Barack Obama hailed the measure and signed it into effect as he earlier said he would.

After weeks of negotiations, Republicans and Democrats reached agreement on the budget this week, which was passed on Friday, first by the House of Representatives by a vote of 316-113, and subsequently by the Senate by a margin of 65-33.

Among other matters, the text includes lifting the ban on oil exports, a longtime priority for Republicans, while Democrats managed to include tax breaks for renewable energy development and a reduction of medical insurance costs.

The Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said “this bipartisan compromise secures meaningful wins for Republicans and the US people.”

Democrats meanwhile hailed as a victory having blocked certain conservative objectives, such as stiffening restrictions on Syrian and Iraqi refugees and defunding planned parenthood.

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