US Congress passes huge spending, tax-relief deal

Congressional leaders worked overtime this week cajoling rank-and-file members on both sides into backing the $1.149 trillion, catch-all bill which came in at more than 2,000 pagesLawmakers approved a compromise $1.1 trillion spending package Friday that funds the US government through next September, tightens the nation’s visa requirements, ends a longstanding oil export ban and reforms the IMF. The sprawling measure, which also extends several tax exemptions worth more than $620 billion and that critics warn will increase the national debt, easily passed the Senate 65 votes to 33 shortly after clearing the House earlier Friday as the last major acts of Congress before year-end holidays. President Barack Obama swiftly signed the measure into law as he prepared to leave Washington for California, and then a family vacation in Hawaii.

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