September 27th, 2008
02:39 PM ET
6 years ago

Senate passes $600 billion spending bill

ALT TEXT

A rainbow appears from the steps of the Capitol.(Eric Marrapodi/CNN)

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Senate overwhelmingly passed a spending bill Saturday that allows a 26-year ban on offshore oil drilling to expire, subsidizes federal loans for automakers and offers aid to Gulf Coast hurricane disaster victims.

The House already passed the $600 billion stop gap funding bill on Wednesday. The bill, which passed the Senate on a 78-12 vote, will continue government spending at the current level through March 6, 2009.

President Bush is expected to sign the measure.

The end to the ban on oil drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts is a major victory for Republicans. Speeches at the Republican National Convention last month were often interrupted with chants of "Drill, baby, drill."

The ban will be lifted October 1.

Republicans on Capitol Hill have seized on drilling as a major election year issue, citing multiple public opinion polls that show a majority of Americans support more offshore drilling. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, had incurred Republican wrath for originally blocking any vote on drilling before allowing a vote on limited drilling earlier this month.

The spending bill includes $25 billion in loan guarantees for U.S. automakers, $23-24 billion in disaster aid for flood and hurricane recovery efforts, $2 billion for Pell grants for student loans and $5.2 billion for low-income energy assistance.

Democrats decided to get a vote on this funding measure out of the way but plan to move an economic stimulus package separately. The stimulus package is still being crafted but would likely include an extension of unemployment benefits, food stamps, aid to states for Medicare and Medicaid and billions for infrastructure programs designed to add more jobs to a slowing economy.

–CNN's Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.


Filed under: Congress
soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. mitch

    as long as it gets us through until barack is president. then we can start repairing all the damage done by rpublicans and neocons.

    September 27, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  2. Pam Holt Los Angeles, CA

    I hope Arnold doesn't cave and let them drill off CA. Why not put more money into finding alternate fuel sources rather than going the dirty, anti-environment route? "Drill Baby Drill" is so disgusting. I wish the Republicans could see the whole big picture rather than just their little lives. Everything on Mother Earth is NOT here for us to destroy.

    September 27, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  3. Harry

    doesn't matter to me on the main st.

    September 27, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  4. M. Winners

    Lifted the drilling ban? That's nice – will we see an increase in supplies any year soon? How about lower prices at the pump?

    Seems I recall that most experts think it will take 7 to 10 years to see the first drop of crude even if they started drilling tommorow.

    The repugs should be happy now since they have another false and hollow talking point to brag on how they are "solving the energy problem". Yeah, right...

    September 27, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  5. MR. MAGOO CAN ONLY FOCUS HIS MONACLE ON IRAQ!

    Apparantly, his staff forgot to notify Mr. MaGoo that the offshore drilling prevention aspect he was raling like a madman about last night, will not be renewed.

    Just more evidence, he is WAY out of touch!

    September 27, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  6. S. Boatman

    Printing More Dollars Only Makes The Value Of The Dollar Decline! He You Print Enough Of Them They Will Soon Be Worth A Nickel!

    September 27, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  7. USAF Staff Sergeant

    Whatever.... just send me the bill..... do you take credit cards?

    September 27, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  8. SHOP FOR AMERICAN MADE PRODUCTS

    WOW – BARACK OBAMA IS ALREADY LEADING THIS COUNTRY. JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING GEORGE BUSH DOES THESE DAYS IS RIGHT OUT OF THE BARACK OBAMA PLAYBOOK.

    SHOP AMERICAN..........SAVE OUR ECONOMY

    September 27, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  9. bk

    If Obama gets elected Pelosi and Reid will be running this country and China will own this country. Just keep spending you idiots.

    September 27, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  10. Keith

    Screw the environment and drill!!! Who the hell do whales and dolphins vote for anyway? Democrats probably. Let's end bans on pollution, exploit the natural resources from national parks, use the Grand Canyon to store toxic waste...let's soil our bedclothes and pretend we dont care...USA USA USA

    September 27, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  11. Edward

    Funny how the same people who say we won't see a change in the oil price for several years, are the ones who opposed drilling in ANWR for the same reason. We would be feeling that difference in the price of gas now had we drilled in ANWR, but I guess liberals don't believe in long-term planning. Just b/c something doesn't give instant results doesn't mean it's a bad idea! That's the problem w/Washington right now – everyone worried about their re-elections and never thinking about the future.

    September 27, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  12. Chris from NY

    They can drill but they can't drill their way out of this election. They may have scored some points on it but it's not going to win them the election. Drilling is only a part of the energy solution and not the whole solution. So, don't start celebrating yet.

    September 27, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  13. Pete, St. Augustine, FL

    M. Winners:

    Great points. Don't forget that the republicans countered your scientific fact argument (about the 7-10 years) by saying that the oil speculators will now start selling their oil futures based on their feelings that prices will come down...and that action, in turn, will cause prices to lower.

    Okay, speculators...the clock is ticking...let's see those prices drop.

    More of the same. More of the same.

    September 27, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  14. WBW OHIO

    Phil Gramm. Eight years ago, as part of a decades-long anti-regulatory crusade, Gramm pulled a sly legislative maneuver that greased the way to the multibillion-dollar subprime meltdown. [Anyone remember ENRON] Yet has THIS A OLE Gramm been banished from the corridors of power? Reviled as the villain who bankrupted Middle America? Hardly. Now a well-paid executive at a Swiss bank, Gramm cochairs Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign and advises the Republican candidate on economic matters. He's been mentioned as a possible Treasury secretary should McCain win. That's right: A guy who helped screw up the global financial system could end up in charge of US economic policy. Talk about a market failure. McCain is a walking disaster for this country.

    September 27, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  15. aDingoAteMyBaby

    Oh Goody! More oil AND loans to automakers – an industry that is ALSO covered in the bail-out package.

    SELL your house on the Jersey Shore.
    BUY Exxon, GM and Ford

    Those who can, will always profit. Too bad for the majority!!

    September 27, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  16. Trollmaster

    Republicans do or say almost nothing about alternative energy. That's because the oil companies who they're servants to will loss a ton of money if we have more electric cars and cars that can go 60 miles per gallon instead of 20.

    September 27, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  17. The Weatherman

    The last refinery in California was shut-down decades ago. The oil company could not operate at a competitive cost locally so they started trucking the fuel from other states. This caused the gas prices to soar even before these last few years. This has had an enormous impact on California's agricultural market, property values, taxes, etc. It's funny how the Hollywood types never make political statements about the abuse of workman'c compensation insurance or employers leaving the state. Yet people still listen them.

    California is the last place to find sanity since Ronald Reagan left politics. Speaker Pelosi is getting schooled. I predict she will be served her own crow pie shortly.

    September 27, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  18. GEEZER/GIDGET '08

    "The campaign says that Senator McCain will head to Capitol Hill later this afternoon. They weren't clear exactly what he's going to actually do when he gets there."

    Neither does McCain.

    September 27, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. Joanne santee

    Now let me see, is this 600 billion in addition to the bailout?..... Oh well, as long as they get their talking points.

    September 27, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  20. Leslie

    Is this $600 billion spending bill connected to the $700 billion bailout ? Where does all this money come from ? Am I missing something here ??

    September 27, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  21. Candia

    I agree with M. Winners. Also, I'd really like to know what follows now that each state can separately decide to allow off-shore drilling or not. Will the coastal states actually do so or not? Seems to me the ones most eager to lift this ban were actually the politicans from land-locked states.

    September 27, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  22. Jeremiah Wiggins, NYC

    Great! This is great news! Now the rest of the country can experience tar on the bottoms of their feet like people in Santa Barbara where the drilling rigs leak their crude. Excellent. There's nothing like scraping black tar of the lily white feet of rich beach combers who will stop at nothing to get their oil.

    September 27, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  23. Daniel va

    drill baby drill... what a bunch of nuts....

    September 27, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  24. NC want NEW Change

    This crisis really put McCain in a MESS.............“Hollis PROTECTED Harry Clark and Rick Davis by intentionally MOVING their contracts INTO an account that Hollis controlled and had to REVIEW and APPROVE. “Hollis THOUGHT McCain WOULD likely WIN the ELECTION and Hollis wanted to begin making the case for Freddie Mac’s CONTINUED existence as EARLY as POSSIBLE.” said a third person with knowledge of the planned meetings.” Rest on FOX news, CNN won’t let me post entire story.

    September 27, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  25. C E H S

    WHY ARE YOU LIBERALS SO STUPID???? WE HAVE BEEN SEARCHING FOR ALTERNATIVE ENERGY FOR THE PAST 40 YEARS AND NO ONE HAS COME UP WITH ANYTHING THAT ACTUALLY WORKS. iF YOU ARE ALL READY TO WALK TO YOUR SPAS AND STARBUCKS THEN SHUT UP AND FIND SOMEONE ELSE TO BUG!!! THE EARTH WAS PUT HERE FOR MANS USE, INCLUDING ALL THE ANIMALS AND CREATURES, JUST READ YOUR BIBLES INSTEAD OF THE STUPID INTERNET ALL DAY AND YOU MAY REALIZE JUST HOW STUPID YOU ALL ARE. DRILL, DRILL, DRILL AND DRILL SOME MORE......OBAMA IS GOING DOWN.....

    September 27, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
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