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House Passes $3.7 Billion Legislative Branch Appropriations

The House passed Congress’ budget Friday afternoon after more than an hour of debate over Democratic rules that prohibited the consideration of a slew of amendments.

The legislative branch spending bill usually passes the House easily; at $3.7 billion (excluding Senate items), it’s the smallest appropriations bill. The legislation includes funding for Members’ offices and Congressional agencies.

But on Friday, Republicans took to the floor to criticize Democratic rules that limited amendments on the bill — repeating arguments they used the day before during debate on the Commerce, Justice and science appropriations bill.

“To not allow the House to work its will and not allow even a one-half of 1 percent reduction, that’s not what the American people want,— said Rules ranking member David Dreier (R-Calif.), referring to one blocked amendment that would have reduced Congress’ overall budget.

In all, the bill provides for about a 7 percent increase over fiscal 2009.

In the end, the bill picked up two new provisions: one requiring the Library of Congress to spend $250,000 on a Civil Rights Oral History project and another that would cut funds from the House’s Wheels4Wellness program.

Republicans have argued that the Wellness program — which provides free bicycles for staffers to use — has been unsuccessful since its launch about a year ago.

On Friday, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) offered a motion to recommit that directed the House Appropriations Committee to eliminate any funds for Wheels4Wellness. The motion passed overwhelmingly, with a tally of 374-34.

The full House Legislative Branch appropriations bill itself split more along party lines at 232-178, with most Democrats voting for it and most Republicans against.

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