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Congress: Spending bill heads for passage

AP: “The Democratic-controlled Senate planned to give final congressional approval to the immense spending measure, possibly as early as Thursday. The Republican-run House passed the package Wednesday in a lopsided 359-67 vote that underscored how both parties could claim wins in the measure — and how both saw deep perils in fighting over it.”

There may not officially be earmarks in the $1.1 trillion spending bill, but there are plenty of pet projects in it.Politico: “House Republican leaders are within weeks of releasing their principles for immigration reform — a blueprint that will detail positions on everything from border security to legal status. The document, which has been kept under wraps until now, will call for beefed-up border security and interior enforcement, a worker verification system for employers and earned legal status for the nation’s undocumented immigrants, according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions. It will also call for reforms to visa programs and a system to track those in the country legally.”

Joe Lieberman, the former senator and 2004 Democratic vice-presidential nominee told a House panel yesterday: "I do not, today, see a credible or coherent U.S. strategy right now, for exactly those countries — Syria, Iraq and Libya -- that most threaten to emerge as al-Qaida's newest and most dangerous footholds. … If we don't do something more than we're doing now, they're going to tip over.” If that happens, "we're going to get attacked again."

Republican Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota told Reuters that he thinks a Farm bill deal could come by the end of this week.