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.
The economy must really be in dire straights or the Dems would not have agreed to this Bill. It tells me that Americans don't even know a quarter about the Disastrous economic deeds the Republican Administration has carried out over the past eight years! The next President will have a monumental task before him in straightening out the disaster that the Bush Administration is leaving behind. And I hope when the new Administration takes office we'll really find out just how much damage this Administration has done!
I'm sure John McCain won't approve unless there's money in this bill to start a war.
Keith, great thing about sarcasm, eh? Honestly I think limited drilling would be okay but come on everyone knows they'll go crazzzzzy with it. We need alternative energy also. When is that going to happen? This isn't going to help with pollution in the least. We've already destroyed huge amounts of land for lumber, parks, development etc. When's that going to stop.
The big wealthy oil companies must be happy. This will no NOTHING to help resolve our dependence on foreigh oil for several years, if ever.
Why are they making fuss about Obama calling John Mccain John and not Senator, do you know how many times Sarah Palin called him John today in Media, Penn. so they can wrap that urgument up in some paper and smoke it, and another thing I think Obama did well last night I don't see anything wrong with telling a person they are right on certain things I also like they fact that he stopped Mccain in his track when he was telling lies he said WAIT WAIT WAIT NOW JOHN THATS NOT TRUE YOU KNOW THATS NOT TRUE Good Job Obama you did good without call him a liar great choice of words.
I am glad the adults won over the kids in this debate. We need to expand our oil drilling and the sooner the better. Obama is against drilling and McCain was for it.
I don't know how Obama is going to give away our money in the form of tax cuts while our country is on the brink of disaster. But then I would let him explain it. I would like him to say, "no new taxes."
Our 2007 federal spending was 2.7 trillion. 700 billions would be more than a quarter of our annual budget. It is nuts to think we will give 700 billions to Wall Street to continue the same practice of business as usual so we can give another bailout ten years later. Why do we reward greed and stupidity? What come with profits are called risks. Haven't they learned anything about risks?
Nice to know that, thanks to these imbiciles, my grandchildren will have to wear respirators to walk outside. "Drill, baby,drill!" Will only know what a whale or dolphin looks like from the pictures in the encyclopedia. "Drill, baby, drill!" And will still have to figure out a way to get off our oil dependence because these morons can't. "Drill, baby,drill!"
Can't wait for the crying to start when we have our first major spill. What short sighted numbskulls the majority of Americans have become.
I suggest that the people commenting not drive.
Put your money where your mouth is.
I'm all for green technologies, but these technologies won't provide for our full energy needs for many years. Get a clue.
I can't wait for all of us to die, were just tearing up this beautiful natural environment we live in. There are different solutions to this type of problem and all we do is approach it with the same result. How innovative are we, we are a country that lacks creativity, and thinking beyond what we know we can already do. Screw drilling bring on alternative fuels to pave a new and better America.
The days of cheap oil are gone forever, it's time to move on!
I hope everyone realizes that as long as there is a game being played, that rules need to be in place. All the politicians that voted for deregulation has not admitted to this huge mistake nor has anyone been arrested for robbing us blind. A person that shoplifts $100 worth of merchandise is handcuffed. These people are responsible for nearly bankrupting our economy, and they are being ignored, bankrupting banks that has been in business for over 100 years.
Robbing the economy of billions of dollars and nobody is blamed. I guess a lot of crooks are ready to sign up for this job.
nice, more spending of money we don't actually have
Wow, McCain can take credit for this one, too. Wow, that makes two big things in one week for McCain. He solved the banking crisis, solved the oil shortage crisis and now he's solving my worry of him ever becoming President. He can't mislead the intelligent and I'm finally convinced that we reign. Thank you dear Lord.
I need my car as much as the next person and energy to keep me either warm or cool or to cook, etc., but enough is enough.
We need to find an energy source that can benefit us all (including other life forms). Animals have no where to go now and are adapting to town living with opposition from humans. Where will the sea life go except into death. And don't we have enough land ugly without making our seaview ugly also.
Let's say that there is no more oil on planet earth – don't you think we would figure out another way to make our cars work?
That is the stand we should be taking that there are no other options available.
Drilling costs money and in a time where we have a crippling deficit and are preparing a $700 billion corporate bailout we need every single penny going to alternative fuels. We have to stop punishing the environment so that we can continue to use oil and gas. Losing our addiction-depenence on oil will allow us to focus on domestic issues and not the Middle east all the time. Once the drilling and refineries start going of our states beaches Sarah Palin won't be able to see Russia from her back yeard anymore.
Thank god the republicans took the lead on this issue... As a democrat I think the democrat party and Obama are not right on many issues. I have always been a democrat but this election the democrats are out there with no leadership .. Obama knows nothing so he is no help to anyone.. Hillary would have been a better choice. So I as others will back McCain/Palin. Experience means everything in politics. Not pretty speeches. Last night debate McCain came out way ahead of Obama. Maybe in 2012 we will have a more experienced democrat to run.....
we are out of gas down in the south, no one seems to care, they are too busy trying to make more problems, rather than facing the ones that really matter. lower gas prices, lower food prices, restore the jobs that have been driven to other countries, help real American familes, we are suffering.
Thanks to the majority Democratic congress, we have lifted the ban on drilling. They didn't block it because the American people wanted it. Democrats listen to the people. Now, let's see how much the oil companies will pay for the right to drill. I say they should pay a % of the profits, don't sell our resources to the highest bid when the highest bid is a lowball.
Drill baby Drill, problem solved, Let's vote in more democrats. They get things done when they are in the majority – they listen to the minority.
Why not give the 'clean energy companies' the same tax breaks as 'big oil'? Level the playing field between these industries. That would only be another $30-40 billion? That type of tax break for an investment would yield great dividends in more jobs, competition between competing industries, and innovation.
That is just great – more garbage from the Republicans. This continues the theme of what our country has become – I want what I want and I want it right now. The selfishness in this country is disgusting. Want to know what I think? Get rid of money – you want a house, go help your neighbor....you want a new car, teach some children how to read....you want that new Gucci purse, spend time with your kids....then maybe we would actually understand and appreciate what we have on this Earth – in nature and in people....
Okay so now we can drill. How long before Americans get a clue about how little oil we have. This won't lower your prices nor will it even put a small dent in foriegn dependencies. What would happen if we all had roofs made of solar shingles tapped into the power grid? What if we all drove electric cars. Maybe if the government subsidized this we all would be off foriegn oil and we could breath a little better. Wake up...
The issue is not if we will drill. That was inevitable. The issue is whether or not we can continue the push to make dependence of crude a subject for the history books. Obama is not the one with the policies that will help this matter. He is way to stubborn and will not work with the republicans. Hilary would have had a better chance, but the democrats wouldn't have it. McCain does show a little more promise that he could actually gain the bi-partisan vote to take America to less dependencies on crude than ever before. Will we see drops in the pumps before 7-10 years as told by these "Experts"? Well these "Experts" are the reason we are in this economic stink in the first place. You can not yell bomb on a plane and not expect a panic. The same goes for here. You can not yell recession and expect America to continue to buy. We do not need speculators. We need leaders with a plan.
you know it might take couple of years until we actually see difference at the pump. But you know what, for a change from comments that I read on this blog, I plan to be here in good ol USA in couple of years. This should serve us as a bridge until we develop solar, wind and nuclear.
A lot of people do not realize although I have to admit Obama plans are ambitious and do sound good, it will take decades to implement wind, solar, and nuclear( I do not think he is for this last one). If elected he has 4 year, if he leads the country good 8 years.
While the alternative fuels are developing, we need to bridge the gap with domestic oil and gas.
Thats my 2 cent.
Can't get past the idea of $600 Billion for this, $700 Billion for that, $10 Billion per month for the other. Just an FYI, you will NOT see a serious reduction in you energy costs with this action. Something tells me that the Repunks allowed the overspeculation in order to force the opposition into providing "foe relief' to the people. With all the info in front of you, you can not believe these punks are for everday people. No, no, no, they are for large corporations, banks, and Wall Street. If we keep the knowledge that they are not for us, as our common denominator, our foundation, maybe we will be able to see through to there wicked plans. I've said this time and time again....Something is nottt righttt.!