House approves $410 billion spending bill

Feb 26, 2009
In The News

WASHINGTON — The Democratic-controlled House approved $410 billion legislation Wednesday that boosted domestic spending programs.

The vote was 245-178, largely along party lines.

Oklahomans in the House voted 4-1 against the measure, which includes more than $14 million for projects in northeastern Oklahoma.

Rep. Dan Boren, the only Democrat in the state's delegation, voted for the legislation; Reps. John Sullivan, Frank Lucas, Tom Cole and Mary Fallin, all Republicans, voted against it.

Sullivan said it was unfortunate that President Barack Obama's message about the need to combat runaway federal spending and regain control of the record federal deficit was not received by members of his own party.

"Today, House Democrats responded by passing the single-largest increase in federal spending since the Carter administration — spending nearly a half a billion dollars we don't have and sticking taxpayers with the bill," he said.

Lucas also thought that House Democrats did not follow their own president on spending.

"The federal government's spending habit has gotten out of control,'' he said. "This omnibus spending package is an 8 percent increase over last year, at an additional cost of $32 billion.''

Other Republicans also assailed the measure as too costly — particularly on the heels of a $787 billion stimulus bill that President Barack Obama signed last week. But Democrats jabbed back.

"The same people who drove the economy into the ditch are now complaining about the size of the tow truck," said Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., pointing out the large increase in deficits that President George W. Bush and GOP-controlled Congresses amassed.

The bill is intended to allow functioning of the government through the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year. The Senate is expected to consider its own version next week.

In a symbolic bow to the recession, Democrats included in the spending measure a prohibition on a cost-of-living increase for members of Congress for the year.

Overall, the legislation would provided increases of roughly 8 percent for the federal agencies it covered, about $32 billion more than last year.

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