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Obey Announces Earmark-Free, $1.2 Trillion Spending Bill

House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) has unveiled his $1.25 trillion, 181-page spending bill that omits earmarks, freezes civilian salaries and funds the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“This Committee has done its dead level best within the constraints under which we are operating to make some modest adjustments to salvage some investments which over the long haul just might create more jobs than a tax break for millionaires and adjustments that just might ease the financial desperation facing so many families today,” Obey said in his statement issued late Tuesday night.

Obey prefaced his remark by noting that his bill comes “at a time when we are apparently extending huge tax cuts for millionaires and we’re giving families worth ten million dollars or more a bye on paying taxes on their good fortunes” in an apparent reference to a tax cut deal struck by President Barack Obama with Senate Republicans.

The bill keeps overall spending at fiscal 2010 levels. That is $45 billion below Obama’s budget but matches a spending limit resolution passed earlier this year by the House in lieu of a full budget. Among numerous provisions, it freezes civilian wages for federal employees for two years, as requested by Obama. It also gives agencies discretion to move money within their budgets to avoid furloughs. 

Defense spending would increase $4.9 billion to $513 billion, military construction and veterans spending would be cut $1.4 billion to $75.2 billion and domestic programs would be cut $3.5 billion to $501.4 billion. The bill also spends another $159 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The measure is expected to pass the House Wednesday. The Senate may try and add a larger omnibus measure, which would contain thousands of earmarks, if enough Republicans are willing to go along.

Obey also included the food safety bill that has already passed the Senate.

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