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

Senate passes $600 billion spending bill


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. Paula From GA

    I gues you guys are editing my comments-not posting them again. Obama's Campaigm must have put one hell of a deposit into your Accounts.
    Oil VCompany s will not dril baby drill if Obama's Team takes Office-Just to get a Windfall Tax by 90% to 100% to pay for you guys getting Freeride. From buying Homes you couldn't afford with to start with. acorn, Fannie Mae and Fred holding the Dems in their Back pocket Chicago Style. We own them thet wiil do as they say.

    September 27, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  2. inuk of the north

    You can't explain anything to the eco-nitwits that not evryone is interested in returning to a nineteenth century lifestyle.

    Yeah, my 81- year old grandmother is interested in riding a bicycle to her doctor's appointment.

    Understand that clean energy is years away (provided the eco-terrorists aren't launching a lawsuit a minute).

    Everyone talks about the wealth transfer to unfriendly nations. Well, that would slow down or stop if the USA had more of its own oil. Every dollar earned from a barrel of oil would stay here augmenting the economy as opposed to fattening some dictator's wallet.

    10,000,000 barrels of oil per day at $100 per barrel adds up quick.

    Think of the benefit to the American economy if we can produce one tenth of that.

    Greater employment with extremely high-paying jobs.

    Breathing room till the new sources of energy can be delivered.

    Diminished funding for USA-haters.

    What's the problem with that? Too easy?

    September 27, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  3. CindyN--PA

    What will it be 10years or so before we will feel any of this relief anyways? Then they say that once we can refine the oil we drill up, that it might go on the global markets anyways? Hope for us that we start an energy policy that works for all of us. The only one that I trust to really bring an energy policy that works is Obama.
    Instead of Drill baby drill, it should have been Invent baby invent.
    Hopefully Obama will be elected and we can start wind, solar and green energies- our future depends on this.

    September 27, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  4. conny


    September 27, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  5. Larry, Hazleton, Pa

    Drilling for more oil makes for a good sound bite but does very little if anything to help with todays problem – will take a least 5 years to see any new supplies – but one must admit that anything that can be done to help with the current problem will also likely take 5 years – so with that said we must start somewhere. So lets go with all others at the same time.

    September 27, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  6. Texas

    It is time to vote out every Republican running for re-election in Congress & the house. This party has demonstrated that they will take their so called "conservative values" to the death of the economy, to the loss of over 3300 americans in Iraq, to the destruction of the earth for a moderate amount of oil and no resolution to the energy crisis. Where ever you live, vote out this lost policy of :self first and others can figure it out on their own". That is the staple of the republican party, the just call it "family values" and hide it in a "Christian view". There is nothing christian about killing, destroying, stealing and what happen to "do unto others" in the christian view?

    Vote out Republicans and Joe Liberman so our country can regain what we lost 8 years ago!!!!!

    September 27, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  7. Larry

    When McCain was running the government when Clinton was the President all of the Democrats LOVED him.Now that he has run the government the last 8 years,you don't like him.Your Fickle !!!!!

    McCain 08

    September 27, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  8. ohio

    yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!! thank you thank you thank you for spending my tax dollars President Bush i am loving it!!!!!!!!!!!!! you are a joke and GOP THANK YOU FOR DESTROYING MY COUTRY!!!!!

    September 27, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  9. mo mo

    Senator Barack Obama was criticized for not wearing the flag pin on his lapel. On an important night like the first debate that the whole world is watching, Senator McCain was not wearing his pin and no one said anything. I need to hear comments on that even though it may sound petit.

    September 27, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  10. Joe the Troll

    Drilling is nothing more than a useless political ploy that won't do us one drop of good.

    September 27, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |



    September 27, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  12. Marilyn

    This is a good bill, which gives immediate help to people, isn't the off shore drilling supposed to be so far out from the shore? and doesn't it also state that it is up to the State?

    September 27, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  13. Ed

    The old twist your arm behind your back to you give in trick. They rape us at the pump till we are willing to do anything to lower prices. Time to get out of America.

    September 27, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  14. Independent

    Did anyone hear McCain has decided not to go to Capitol hill. He is now...get this... going to stay away and keep up with phone calls...LMAO. Is that not what Obama has been doing for the past weeks. Oh my this guy is so out of it!

    September 27, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  15. let's take our country back

    If there were ever any doubt that we descended for Neanderthals, Keith would be definite proof. Do you not realize that if we destroy the earth it wont matter who's president or where we store waste or who supports it, because we will all be dead. You obviously worship Limbaugh and O'Reilley. Bigot.

    September 27, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  16. lisa

    Keith from above, there isn't that many years of oil left on the planet. MANY people living today, gen X and even boomers, will see the day of oil extinction. You get this, right? How long? 10yrs?20yrs?

    September 27, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  17. Realistic

    The oil companies don't have much interest in drilling offshore in the first place - this is just another Repub political football for their brain-dead supporters.

    September 27, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  18. arnold

    When will you people smarten up and realize the media is owned by the far left. Of course the polls favor Obama. These radicals think if they own the media, they can control the people. Don't be close minded, it's obvious.
    There is a large part of this country that are the "silent republicans" that do not care or worry about polls, do not spew vile comments and are open and sensible.
    Both parties are just as guilty, McCain isn't bush and he'll be a lot more bipartisan than Obama, who is in the tank for his own party.

    So wise up, it's Country First, as has been shown and proven. Spin it or live it.


    September 27, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  19. Marc PDX

    Obama is a better speaker, and McCain is a better do-er. McCain is working on the financial problem in Washington today – trying to get a bill pushed through. Obama has gone to NC to resume his campaign, explaining to voters why he'd be a better president than McCain.

    September 27, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  20. Gary

    "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 tomorrow."

    That's based on if we put oil platforms at the distance offshore where they currently are drilling, but new technologies suggest there are better drilling spots closer to shore. These closer spots can be achieved without harming the environment.

    Granted, I don't like a dependancy on oil, but for the larger part of the US, its all they can afford at the moment. Do you think every household is able to afford a hybrid or an alternative fuel vehicle? Drop down the price a bit and that answer would be yes.

    September 27, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  21. Tiff of lithia springs

    I think we should be concerned about this drilling business. I want to see what the candidates plans are for wind and solar solutions.

    September 27, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  22. Post this

    The post was closed on a previous topic, so i'm putting it here:
    I'm watching the ballot bowl and CNN showed about 2 minutes of Obama talking and about 15 minutes of Sarah Palin and 4 minutes of Biden, and now McCain with talking for about 15 minutes what's up with that? Sarah is not fit to be any party's VP. She shouldn't be treated any different then anyone else. I'm tired of hearing about how Biden is going to have to "watch his words" when it comes to her, but she can say whatever she wants to say. I'm sick of this. It's clear who won that debate last night and it's clear who is going to win next thursday as well as the election on Nov. 4th it's Obama/Biden. Now post this CNN!!

    September 27, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  23. Joe

    Sounds like all of the under-educated voters who were backing Clointon have switched to Obama.

    September 27, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  24. facts are facts

    The rich get richer the poor get poorer and thats the American way.

    I used to feel sorry for ordinary Americans becuase of the way they are lied to so big business can roll over their very existence but after watching the polls along with some of the bloggers who cares!

    September 27, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  25. Chad

    Dont complain that this could take 7-10 years. If we would have done this 7-10 years ago we wouldnt even be having this discussion today. At some point we need to start planning for a future with oil, instead of saying that we are just going to find a magic solution to living without it.

    September 27, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
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