WASHINGTON - Congressional leaders say they have agreed on a roughly $1 trillion spending bill that will fund the U.S. government through the end of the 2014 budget year.
Shaking off three years of a bitter partisan freeze, Democratic and Republican negotiators unveiled the $1.012 trillion spending deal Monday night.
The proposed deal rolls back pension cuts to disabled veterans, lowers other government spending agency-by-agency and could be the biggest policy decision Congress makes in an otherwise gridlocked year.
The measure follows the guidelines laid out in the budget agreement Congress passed in December.
In a joint statement, the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate appropriations committees said the bill "keeps the government open and eliminates the uncertainty and economic instability of stop-gap governing."
"As with any compromise, not everyone will like everything in this bill," they said. "But in this divided government, a critical bill such as this simply cannot reflect the wants of only one party. We believe this is a good, workable measure that will serve the American people well, and we encourage all our colleagues to support it this week."
"I think the most significant thing is this gets the train back on the track," House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Kentucky, told reporters, stressing Congress has spent too long moving from one temporary spending bill, or continuing resolution, to another.
"This takes us to the regular process and that's what I want to do."
Two other highlights will likely ring out in news releases from both parties in the next few days:
-- First, the bill protects disabled veterans from cuts to the cost-of-living allowances hitting some other military pensions.
-- Secondly, it applies budget cuts in a more thoughtful agency-by-agency manner, as opposed to the across-the-board sequester that hit last year.
Otherwise, Rogers admitted the omnibus is not flashy, calling it somewhat of a "status-quo" bill in terms of spending amounts and policy. It follows the lower spending caps set by the Murray-Ryan budget deal in December. He and fellow Republican Tom Cole of Oklahoma insisted there was nothing explosive for either party in the document.
Still, the 1,582-page document is a juggernaut of a bill, outlining the government's priorities in ink and dollars.
House leaders hope to vote on the omnibus Wednesday, the same day as the latest temporary spending bill is set to expire.
To avoid a government shutdown, lawmakers have drafted one more short-term bill, a three-day spending measure to keep government funded long enough so that the omnibus bill can pass the Senate.