NEGOTIATIONS

Congress to Pass Defense Bill

Congress is close to passing a massive defense spending bill that will authorize $662 billion for the military as the House voted 283-136 Wednesday night in a rare bipartisan cooperation. The Senate is expected to clear the bill today. But partisan wrangling could still deadlock a much more important issue: the $915 billion federal funding bill that has only two more days to pass until the government is forced to shut down. The Republicans are pushing a plan that will force the Democrats to cancel a tax for the rich, and the two sides are still fighting over how to pay for an expiring payroll tax cut that they supposedly both want.