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(Jacquelyn Martin | The Associated Press) President Barack Obama signs the $1.1 trillion spending bill that funds the federal government through the end of September, in Washington on Friday at Jackson Place, a conference center near the White House. Obama signed the measure the day before federal funding was set to run out and was joined by aides who did much of the work negotiating it.
Obama signs $1.1 trillion government spending bill
Budget » The compromise measure was passed earlier by the Senate and House.
First Published Jan 17 2014 05:08 pm • Last Updated Jan 17 2014 07:48 pm

Washington • President Barack Obama on Friday signed a $1.1 trillion spending bill that funds the federal government through the end of September.

Obama put his signature on the 1,582-page measure the day before federal funding was set to run out. He made the short walk from the White House to sign it at a nearby conference center, saying he wanted the ceremony held there because the bill is the product of the hard work of the many budget office employees who work there.

At a glance

Fed budget comes to $3M per word

Talk about words more costly than gold.

The giant federal budget bill that the House passed Wednesday, Senate passed late Thursday and President Barack Obama signed Friday will cost taxpayers nearly $3 million per word, or if you want to really think big, almost $700 million per page.

The bill authorizes $1.1 trillion in spending. It is 1,582 pages long. An Internet word counting program said it has 370,445 words, numbers and symbols. So simple math comes up with $2.9 million per word average and $695 million per page average, though different parts of the budget package spend more than other sections.

By comparison, there are only 4,543 words in the U.S. Constitution, before amendments, and 1,458 words in the Declaration of Independence.

Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington spending watchdog, figured that senators spent slightly more than 69 hours before passing the bill, giving them just under two minutes per page to read it.

And this story is only 162 words. At $2.9 million per word that comes to $470 million. A bargain.

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"We would not be here and we would not be able to sign this legislation if it hadn’t been for your work and your dedication," the president said. "And so this is my way of saying thank you."

He noted that many budget office employees were furloughed during last October’s 16-day government shutdown and that those who remained on the job had to pick up the slack.

"Across the board, our government is going to be operating without, hopefully, too many glitches over the next year," Obama told budget office employees who attended the bill signing. "And not only is that good for all of you and all the dedicated public servants in the federal government but, most importantly, it’s good for the American people."

"It means that we can focus our attention where we need to, on growing this economy and making sure that everybody gets a fair shot as long as they try," he said.

The compromise measure passed both houses of Congress this week by overwhelming margins. It funds every agency of the federal government and also scales back automatic across-the-board spending cuts, known as the sequester, that hit the Pentagon and major domestic programs last year.

The measure calls for less spending than Obama had proposed but more than Republicans sought. However, lawmakers of both parties were determined to avoid a repeat of the political showdown that caused the government shutdown.

Before he sat down, Obama looked at the blue box that held the bill and exclaimed: "Goodness gracious, that is a big piece of business. That is a big bill."




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