House advances final fiscal 2000 spending package

House advances final fiscal 2000 spending package

The House adjourned for the year Thursday after passing the final $385 billion, five-bill fiscal 2000 spending package, which includes a 0.38 percent across-the-board spending cut and a delay in some federal employees' paychecks by a day next September to shift payroll costs into fiscal 2001.

The omnibus bill consists of the last five fiscal 2000 appropriations bills: Interior, Commerce-Justice-State, Labor- HHS, Interior and District of Columbia.

The Senate, meanwhile, twisted itself into a parliamentary knot that will stretch debate on the omnibus appropriations bill through the rest of the weekend.

Under the budget bill, the scheduled Saturday Sept. 30, 2000 pay day for the military and some civilian federal workers would move to Sunday, Oct. 1, the first day of fiscal 2001. That move would save the government $1.9 billion in fiscal 2000 payroll costs. The 0.38 percent across-the-board cut would save only about $1.3 billion in fiscal 2000.

When lawmakers proposed a 1 percent across-the-board cut earlier in the budget debates, they agreed to cut their own salaries by that much. But in the end, lawmakers saved their own salaries from the 0.38 percent cut.

Also, the House and Senate passed a continuing resolution that will keep the government agencies that still lack their fiscal 2000 appropriations operating through Dec. 2. That continuing resolution and other bills are being flown to President Clinton, who is in Europe, for his signature. Appropriators extended their original continuing resolution of Nov. 23 to Dec. 2 because Congress will not come back into session until after Thanksgiving if Senate debate over the omnibus bill lasts past Sunday.