Bill nixes hiring checks; Filipino vets, mouse safe

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Other late decisions added motorcycles and motor homes to the list of vehicles eligible for federal tax breaks, according to the Associated Press.

Like the mouse funds, the Las Vegas Mob Museum is not specifically funded by the bill. But lawmakers said the funds should go to “shovel-ready” projects local officials say can produce jobs - and Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman had said a $50 million Mob Museum was a worthy candidate.

The Senate had passed an amendment from Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, that had banned money going to casinos, zoos, golf courses, swimming pools, parks, museums, theaters or highways beautification projects. The final bill retained the ban on gambling establishments, zoos and pools, but removed the prohibition against funding museums, stadiums, arts centers, theaters, parks or highway beautification projects.

“It is ludicrous that politicians in Washington made zero effort to eliminate any wasteful Washington spending to pay for this enormous spending bill,” said Mr. Coburn, who regularly demands that pet projects be cut from spending bills.

On the immigration issue, Democrats removed from the final bill a House-adopted provision that would have required those who received money from the stimulus spending bill to check their new employees against E-Verify, the federal government’s chief tool to weed illegal immigrants out of the work force.

And the E-Verify program could go dark next month after Democratic leaders also removed a provision that would have extended the program, which more than 100,000 companies have signed up to use. E-Verify needs to be reauthorized by March 6.

“It is a simple matter of accountability. If the goal is to create jobs and stimulate the American economy, then is it too much to ask that the jobs go to U.S. citizens and legal immigrant workers?” said Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee.

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