It took 1,603 pages of legalese to keep the U.S. government running for another year. That is the length of the 2015 Fiscal Year Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which was approved by the Senate on Saturday to appropriate $1.01 trillion dollars for most federal agencies and departments through September 2015. The bill is on Pres. Obama’s desk waiting for his signature.
It is not all about dollars. Congress also loaded the bill with special instructions, called policy riders, which dictate how government funds must be spent. Because the bill was rushed through just before the government ran out of money, and Congressional leaders did not want another government shutdown if the bill did not pass, lawmakers seized the opportunity to tack on controversial riders that might otherwise have been debated.