WASHINGTON - The Senate finally passed a $1.1 trillion spending package late Saturday night, putting an end to several days of intense debate over the repeal of a key Dodd-Frank Act provision and other measures included in the bill.
Lawmakers approved the deal, which funds most of the government through Sept. 30, by a narrow vote of 56-40. Democrats were divided because the legislation rolls back a Dodd-Frank provision requiring banks to push out certain swaps from depository institutions and into affiliates.
Some Republicans, meanwhile, felt that the package didn't go far enough in stopping President Obama's executive order on immigration. The legislation escaped the House on a similarly narrow vote late Thursday, and is now headed to President Obama's desk to be signed.
"This is certainly a very poor way to end the year, and will only confirm the public's already low opinion of Congress," Republican Sen. Susan Collins said Saturday, according to press reports.
The vote was further delayed, requiring a rare weekend session, when Republicans Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah forced the chamber to vote on a "constitutional point of order" over whether the White House immigration plan was legal. The measure ultimately failed 74-22, but allowed Democrats time to confirm additional presidential appointees before the end of the term.
The Senate is expected to take up a package of tax extenders as early as Monday, and may possibly return to the debate over the reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act before lawmakers break for the holidays. A House bill to extend TRIA, which provides a government backstop for insurers and reinsurers in the case of a catastrophic attack, is being held up over objections to another unrelated measure included in the legislation that would establish a National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers.