House passes $410B spending bill

Most Democrats voted in favor of the measure, while the GOP criticized the size of bill and addition of earmarks. The bill now goes to the Senate.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The House of Representatives passed a $410 billion spending bill Wednesday to keep the federal government operating for the remainder of fiscal year 2009, which ends Sept. 30.

The bill passed on a largely party-line 245-178 vote, with most Democrats voting in favor of it and most Republicans opposed. It now moves to the Senate for further consideration.

House GOP leaders said the spending increases in the bill - $31 billion more than the previous fiscal year - are too large.

They also criticized $7.7 billion worth of earmarks designed to support pet projects in individual lawmakers' districts.

"American families and small businesses are making sacrifices across this country, and cutting expenses due to tough economic times. Yet this Democratic majority continues to spend like there's no problem at all," Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, said.

Democrats defended the size of the bill, saying it was necessary to help counter the economic downturn and restore budget cuts made under former President Bush.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., also defended the earmarks, arguing that "without the earmarking process, the White House and its anonymous bureaucrats would make every single spending decision in government."

The bill's spending increases cover a broad range of programs, ranging from an additional $6.9 billion for a program to help feed poor women and infants, to another $40 million to finish a new Capitol Hill visitors center.

President Barack Obama is expected to unveil his fiscal year 2010 budget on Thursday. To top of page

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