Senate passes $410 billion spending bill

The measure will fund the U.S. government for the rest of the budget year; critics oppose $8 billion in 'pork-barrel' projects.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A massive spending bill that funds the U.S. government for the rest of the budget year passed the Senate on Tuesday despite complaints about nearly $8 billion in what critics called "pork-barrel" projects.

Senators voted 62-35 to cut off debate on the $410 billion measure and passed it on a voice vote immediately afterward.

The omnibus spending bill includes more than 8,000 congressional "earmarks," which total almost $8 billion. The earmarks have caused critics to question President Barack Obama's pledge to end wasteful spending, but Obama administration officials say the bill is a holdover from the previous Congress and the Bush administration.

"It is in America's best interest to close the book on the last administration and let the new one hit the ground running," said Sen. Daniel Inouye, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

But Sen. John McCain, a longtime critic of congressional spending and Obama's Republican opponent in the 2008 election, said the vote shows "business as usual" remained the order of the day.

"If the president were serious about his pledge for change, he would veto this bill. He won't," McCain said.

The bill funds the U.S. government through September, when the 2008 budget year ends. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, postponed the vote last week because he wasn't sure supporters had the 60 votes needed to break a potential GOP filibuster.

The measure passed the House of Representatives last week.

According to the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense, only McCain and four other senators had no earmarked spending requests in the bill -- Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma; Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina; Russ Feingold, D-Wisconsin; and Claire McCaskill, R-Missouri.

Senators defeated an amendment from McCain that would have stripped the bill of most of its earmarks. To top of page

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