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SPOTLIGHT

1. APPROPRIATIONS

Spending deal switches off light bulb standards

A controversial rider that would halt the roll out of new lighting efficiency standards remains plugged into a massive spending deal House and Senate negotiators worked out last night. Lawmakers in both chambers signed off on the omnibus spending deal that would fund U.S. EPA, the Energy Department, the Interior Department and other agencies for the rest of fiscal 2012. The deal paves the way for votes in both chambers today, a move that would narrowly avoid a government shutdown when current funding expires at midnight.

2. COAL

Omnibus averts controversial mining policy riders, takes on funding cuts

While coal and mining issues in the congressional budget deal remain controversial, it appears that many Democrats were prepared to make tough concessions to reach a compromise. The spending package would cut $4 million from U.S. EPA funding that appropriators say has been used by the agency in its crackdown of Appalachian coal mining. The cut, while upsetting to many Democrats, is by no means as tough as potential policy riders.

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