Congress passed an omnibus spending bill to keep the government running, after Republicans delayed it in the Senate to make hay over "earmarks." But according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, six of the ten largest earmark requests in the bill were from Republicans. Provisions in the spending bill include price breaks for contraceptives and a ban on exports of most cluster bombs.
The House passed a bill containing billions for state's water and water infrastructure funds, but Republicans derailed legislation that would set aside million of acres of public wilderness and create more than 1,000 miles of scenic river designations. Democrats had brought up the bill under rules requiring a two-thirds majority, so it will likely pass when it comes under normal procedures.
The Senate Finance Committee voted to back the nomination of former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk for U.S. Trade Representative.