House passes record defense spending bill

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: Last night, the House passed a record $448 billion in defense spending. The Senate might approve the Pentagon budget today. The bill also contains money to keep the lights on at other government agencies that haven't had their budgets OK'd. Nancy Marshall Genzer reports from Washington.


NANCY MARSHALL GENZER: It's an old trick in Washington: Pass one budget bill and stick on a stopgap funding measure to keep the rest of the government running past the start of the new fiscal year, October 1st.

The defense budget was the first spending bill passed by either House or Senate this year.

Brookings Institution senior fellow Thomas Mann says usually lawmakers have approved two or three spending bills by now.

THOMAS MANN:"So this year is a more egregious example of putting it off and passing an omnibus spending bill to buy more time particularly, in this case, after the elections."

Mann says the defense bill passed the House because lawmakers didn't want to be seen as unpatriotic.

The Pentagon got pretty much what it wanted, but with the Iraq war costing about $8 billion a month, more money will be needed next spring.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer, for Marketplace.

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