US congress approves $410bn bill

Contentious bill sent to Obama includes easing of restrictions on travel to Cuba.

    The senate debate comes as Obama prepares
    the US budget for 2010 [AFP]

    Cuba restrictions

    One of the provisions of the bill also looks to ease some long-standing travel restrictions to Cuba.

    Video

    New generation sees change in US-Cuba ties
     

    Under the current law, US citizens can visit their family in Cuba once every three years. The new bill would change that to once a year.
     
    Many Republicans fought the bill because it raised government spending by eight per cent above fiscal 2008 levels, saying that it added more money to programmes already funded by the $787bn economic stimulus package approved last month.

    Senators from both parties objected to billions of dollars for legislators' pet projects, but rejected several attempts to freeze the spending at last year's levels and strip out so-called earmarks.

    The debate, at times full of partisan rhetoric, may foreshadow even bigger battles over Obama's $3.55 trillion 2010 budget and his plans to overhaul healthcare, which congress will turn to in the coming weeks.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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