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Congress OKs Spending Bill, Starts Partying

December 19, 1985|United Press International

WASHINGTON — Congress took a giant step toward adjournment for the year today by passing a $369-billion catchall spending bill to fund major government agencies, including the Pentagon and Treasury, in 1986.

The bill was immediately sent to the White House for President Reagan's promised signature.

The House voted 261 to 137 in favor of the funding legislation, three days after the chamber stunned leaders of both parties by turning down the first version of the spending legislation crafted by a House-Senate conference committee.

"We're not proud of the product but it's the best that we can do and we simply need to pass it," Rep. Vic Fazio (D-West Sacramento) told House colleagues in urging adoption.

The Senate quickly passed the bill by voice vote, clearing the way for Congress to adjourn for the year.

The catchall spending bill for the Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Treasury and Transportation departments and other government offices, including the White House, is the last major item on Congress' 1985 agenda.

On the final day of a long session, Christmas parties sprouted in every corridor of the sprawling Capitol complex, and some lawmakers donned clothing in keeping with the holiday spirit.

"I recognize the gentleman from Massachusetts, Kris Kringle," House Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill Jr. said at one point to Rep. Silvio O. Conte (R-Mass.), who wore a bright red plaid sports jacket and bright red plaid pants that nearly matched.

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