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article imagePresident Obama signs $1 trillion stopgap spending bill

By Ken Hanly     Sep 21, 2014 in Politics
Washington - On Friday, September 19, President Obama signed a $1 trillion spending bill that includes funding for his plan to arm and train Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State in Syria.
The funding averted a government shutdown on October 1 and will allow the government to continue operating until December 11 this year. The bill passed in the Senate a day earlier in a 78 to 22 vote. 9 Democrats, 12 Republicans and one independent voted against the bill. Among those voting "No" were Senator Ted Cruz (R.Texas), Rand Paul (R-Ky) and Elizabeth Warren(D-Mass). Senator Mark Begich(D-Alaska) objected to the addition of the Syrian proposals to the spending bill: “This issue with what’s going on in Syria should be a separate issue, should be debated separately. I do not support the arming of rebels in Syria.”
Senator Begich found support for his position from Rand Paul a Republican from Kentucky: "I think it’s inexcusable that the debate of whether we get involved in another country’s civil war — that we would vote on this in a spending bill." However, fellow Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida supported the addition.
In the vote in the House to add the Syria provision Anti-war liberal members united with some Republicans in opposition to the addition, seeing it as a step towards becoming involved in war in Syria. Many worry that weapons will end up in the hands of radicals such as the Islamic State or the Nusra Front. The vote on the addition passed 273 to 156 but over 80 Democrats voted against the addition.The House passed the entire motion on Tuesday 319 to 108.
Obama expressed pleasure at the support for his proposal to arm and train moderate rebels: “As I said last week, I believe that we’re strongest as a nation when the president and Congress work together. And I want to thank leaders in Congress for the speed and seriousness with which they approached this urgent issue — in keeping with the bipartisanship that is the hallmark of American foreign policy at its best."
The Senate appropriators are creating an "omnibus" spending bill. The bill would include all 12 unfinished spending bills combined together to form a $1.014 trillion total. The bill would be considered by Congress only after the November elections and approved before the new Congress that would convene next January.
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