updated 5:51 a.m. PT, Sat., Dec . 19, 2009
WASHINGTON – The Senate will send President Barack Obama a critical budget bill that combines money for the Pentagon with additional help for the jobless.
Senators meeting Saturday in the midst of a snow storm cleared their plate of unfinished business as the legislative calendar ran out for 2009.
The 88-10 vote means the Senate can return to the acrimonious debate on health care. Democrats hope to pass that bill before Christmas.
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The $626 billion defense bill contained $128 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and a 3.4 percent pay raise for the military.
It also included two-month extensions of unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless. There were health care subsidies for people out of work, along with money for highways and transit systems.
Please check back for details on this breaking news story.
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