WASHINGTON -- Congress has adjourned for the year after wrapping up a $20 billion anti-terrorism package and a medley of other bills, but lawmakers exited pointing fingers over the economy and other unfinished business.
Capping an extraordinary 2001, the House and Senate left town after sending President Bush three bills providing hundreds of billions of dollars for defense, schools, health and foreign aid. They also approved legislation granting tax breaks to victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, lowering federal fees paid by investors and helping states clean up industrial sites.
Left undone were bills aimed at bolstering the tired economy -- Bush's economic stimulus bill -- spurring domestic energy output and revamping federal agriculture programs. Each became mired in partisan fights that probably will echo in the coming election year.
On the Senate floor, Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., bemoaned "too many instances where partisanship has prevented us from what needed to be done."
After an overnight session, an exhausted House quit for the year late Thursday afternoon, and the Senate's final gavel sounded soon after 9 p.m. CST. Thus ended an epic year that saw Democrats wrest Senate control from Republicans, budget surpluses devolve into deficits, and the legislative focus shift from a political duel over Social Security to an all-out military, diplomatic and economic campaign against terrorism.
By 408-6, the House approved the anti-terrorism measure and a massive $318 billion defense bill coupled with it. The Senate's 94-2 vote sent Bush a bill that had sparked a politicized, weekslong clash between him and lawmakers over how to marshal federal resources to combat international terror.
Congress also gave final approval to a $123 billion social services measure containing big boosts for education and biomedical research and a $15.4 billion foreign aid bill.
That marked Congress' completion of its work on this fiscal year's $2 trillion budget, nearly three months after the year began Oct. 1. Lawmakers seldom complete all 13 annual spending bills by that date.
As usual in the waning hours of a session, lawmakers and lobbyists hunted furiously for ways to squeeze legislation through Congress. The House approved a bill to increase monitoring of foreign students while hiring hundreds of new immigration inspectors, but the Senate never got to it.
The Senate voted to set up bioterrorism programs like stockpiling vaccines, but a final version of that bill will await work next year.
A bill sought by the insurance industry that would have had the government cover most insurers' losses from a future terror attack was blocked in the Senate. And an effort by the airline industry to be granted a 30-day delay in meeting a mandated January deadline for inspecting all checked bags for explosives also fell short.
The anti-terror package included money for more Customs Service inspectors, countering bioterrorism, hiring sky marshals and strengthening cockpit doors, bolstering security at the Capitol and reimbursing law enforcement agencies that responded to the Sept. 11 airline crashes.
Lawmakers also found room for spending projects in their home districts. There was $300,000 for a road-widening project in Woodville, Miss., and $4.5 million for the Fort Des Moines memorial park and education center.
The defense bill contains $7.8 billion for missile defense, $500 million less than Bush wanted, and would increase military personnel salaries by at least 5 percent.
The labor, education and health bill, approved 90-7 by the Senate, is $11 billion higher than last year's and $7 billion more than Bush wanted. It boosts spending for schools according to the recently passed education overhaul and increases money for the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The foreign aid measure is $400 million over last year's total. Still it pares Bush's request for aid to South American countries trying to cut production of illegal drugs.
With voice votes, Congress also approved its eighth temporary measure of the fiscal year keeping agencies functioning until their spending bills are signed. This one will run through Jan. 10.
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