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Negotiations on the 13 annual budget bills have been stalled in Congress for weeks as Republicans fight over how to cap spending. To move things forward, Representative Bill Young (R-FL), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, has proposed voting on the federal budget as a single piece of legislation instead of dividing the spending measures into separate bills. According to Young, an “omnibus” bill may be the only way to approve a budget before the fiscal year ends on September 30. A Washington-based nonprofit, Taxpayers for Common Sense, argues, however, that an omnibus bill of that scale would allow lawmakers to slip in sweetheart deals for their districts without a thorough, independent review. As evidence, Taxpayers points to the most recent omnibus budget bill, passed by Congress last year. It folded 7 of the 13 annual appropriations bills into single law and contained a record number 8,000 earmarks worth more than $10 billion. [05/03/04]

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