This morning the Senate passed (67-32) a $915 billion FY2012 appropriations bill that funds the nine remaining appropriations bills:  Defense, Military Construction/VA, Homeland Security, Energy & Water, Financial Services, Interior & Environment, Labor/HHS/Education, Legislative, and State/Foreign Operations.  The House approved (296-121) the bill yesterday, so it now goes to the president for signature. 

To ensure that the government would not close before the president signed the bill, Congress passed a 1-day CR.  Once again, at the last minute, a government shutdown has been avoided.

Together with the FY2012  “minibus” appropriations bill (funding Agriculture, Commerce/Justice/Science, and Transportation/HUD appropriations) the president signed last week, FY2012 appropriations total $1.043 trillion—the amount agreed to in the debt ceiling increase/deficit reduction deal reached earlier this year.

The final voting on the FY2012 appropriations bill, called “megabus” by many, came after days of political wrangling. 

The Republican-led House and Democrat-led Senate had reached substantial agreement early this week only to find passage threatened by last-minute differences on policy riders (e.g., travel to Cuba policy, and energy standards).  After a few days of contentious negotiations, competing political strategies on whether and when to vote, and presidential veto threats, congressional leaders finally agreed to a FY2012 appropriations bill that the president indicated he would sign. 

In announcing the deal, House Appropriations Committee chairman Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY) said “after weeks of tough negotiations with our Senate counterparts—and several tenuous days this past week—we were able to complete a bipartisan, bicameral compromise.”

For defense, the bill provides $531 billion for the DoD base budget, $22 billion below the president’s request.  The DoD appropriations bill (excluding Military Construction) totals $518 billion and Military Construction appropriations (included in the Military Construction/VA appropriations bill) equal $13 billion.  The bill also provides $115 billion for overseas contingency operations (OCO), almost $3 billion lower than the president’s request.