WASHINGTON — Congress' spending plan for the federal government touches almost every facet of American life as it tackles big priorities such as health care, education and combating terrorism as well as smaller concerns such as the future of light bulbs.
The 1,582-page, $1.1 trillion bill goes line by line, listing how federal dollars will be spent between now and Sept. 30. It's one of the few times in recent years that Congress has produced such a lengthy roster of priorities.
The House could vote on the bill as soon as today, and the Senate is likely to vote later in the week. The White House said Tuesday that it supported the bill, which was released late Monday by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.
The bill details discretionary funding, which Congress and the White House can control year by year. Much of the approximately $3.8 trillion federal budget includes entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare, which are on spending autopilot and do not need annual approval.
Painstaking compromises were needed to craft the bill. Most Democrats liked how it spends more than the $967 billion that was allowed by a 2011 budget deal.
Head Start, the early childhood education program, would get a big funding boost. Federal employees and military personnel would get a 1 percent pay raise.
The bill includes $136 million for the new U.S. Strategic Command headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base near Bellevue. This is the third of four scheduled rounds of funding for the major project to replace the command's aging facility. The measure also includes $36 million for a new veterans cemetery in Sarpy County.
Republicans lost their bid to dilute and defund the Affordable Care Act, the issue largely responsible for October's partial government shutdown.
But funding would be cut for the health care law's Independent Payment Advisory Board. Branded a “death panel” by some Republicans, its mission is to recommend and in some cases decide changes in Medicare.
The measure is laden with policy edicts. Money could not be used to transfer detainees from Guantánamo Bay to the United States or its territories. No aid to Libya would be permitted until Secretary of State John Kerry guarantees that its government is cooperating in the investigation of the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi in 2012.
Back home, the bill would prevent flood insurance rate increases from taking effect, a measure applauded by Florida lawmakers even if its effect is limited and short-lived.
Also stymied is the federal government's effort to cut down on wasted energy by phasing out incandescent light bulbs with new efficiency standards.
Republicans have fought the move for years, saying consumers often have to pay more for alternatives such as compact fluorescent, LED and halogen bulbs. It's questionable whether the GOP's attempt to save incandescent bulbs can work, since companies have been phasing out production.
The legislation fills in the blanks created last month when Congress and the White House agreed on a two-year spending blueprint. That agreement is likely to prevent any government shutdowns until the next fiscal year ends in September 2015. Current government funding runs out today, though Congress is expected to give itself until Saturday to approve the new budget plan. Another appropriation will be needed for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.
World-Herald staff writer Joseph Morton contributed to this report.