WASHINGTON — President Bush signed a $555 billion omnibus spending bill Wednesday that provides funding for the government’s agencies for fiscal year 2008, as well as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Congress passed the massive spending bill last week. It sets the budgets for several agencies, including the Department of Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative’s office. The two trade agencies’ budgets were scaled back considerably from the Democrats’ initial funding proposal after leaders were forced to make significant cuts in their spending blueprint to satisfy Bush’s budget demands.
The compromise bill also provides funding for highway improvements, but prohibits the use of funds to allow Mexican-based trucks to operate beyond restricted commercial zones in the U.S. The Bush administration implemented a pilot program earlier this year to allow up to 100 Mexican-based carriers to travel inside the U.S. The new legislation strips the funding for that program, which is a setback for Bush, who has tried for years to open the border to cross-border commercial truck traffic.