WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has passed a $1 trillion-plus catchall budget bill paying for day-to-day operations of 10 Cabinet departments and averting a government shutdown, while Senate talks on renewing a payroll tax cut and jobless benefits reached a critical phase.
The 296-121 vote today to approve the spending measure represented a rare moment of bipartisanship in a polarized Capitol. The Senate's top Republican, meanwhile, raised the stakes in the showdown over the payroll tax cut, insisting he won't back a compromise extension unless the bill includes language aimed at forcing construction of a Canada-to-Texas pipeline.
As negotiations on the payroll tax bill proceeded today, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said, "I will not be able to support the package that doesn't include the pipeline."
The GOP's pipeline demands added uncertainty to efforts by McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to quickly reach a deal on a bill renewing payroll tax cuts and jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed.