Ideological earmarks litter spending bill; vanity portraits for Congress nixed

Language in spending bill prevents ending Saturday mail delivery

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Another one-year delay in energy efficiency rules that effectively would ban incandescent light bulbs.

Requirements that the National Security Agency report on its snooping activities, including divulging to Congress the number of phone records it has scooped up, the number it has analyzed, and whether the phone metadata collection program has halted any terrorist plots.

A continued ban on federal funding for abortions and a provision prohibiting the District of Columbia from spending its own taxpayer money on abortions.

Limits on federal agencies’ spending on travel and conferences.

A delay of rules policies that would limit coal-fired power-plant construction.

Language preventing the Postal Service from ending Saturday delivery or closing many rural post offices. The Postal Service argues that it needs to take such action to become financially solvent, but many lawmakers say it would hurt small communities.

Riders always have been part of massive bills. Past riders have included policies on federal offshore drilling and the slaughter of horses for human consumption.

Indeed, much of the fight in 2011 when Republicans took control of the House was over riders designed to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood and to halt some of the Environmental Protection Agency rules issued during Mr. Obama’s tenure.

This year’s riders haven’t completely replaced the push for old-fashioned financial assistance for voters back home.

In one key provision, the spending bill includes language blocking federal flood insurance premium increases for homeowners who, under new maps, find their homes are deemed to be in flood plains.

The riders weren’t enough to earn the support of many conservative activist groups, which said the process gave House members less than 48 hours to read the 1,582-page bill.

“Taxpayers are left with one massive bill that funds Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, and many other liberal priorities without any ability to scrutinize each department separately,” said Daniel Horowitz of the Madison Project, which is aiding conservative challengers to Republican incumbents in a number of congressional races this year.

House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, said he wished he could give lawmakers more time but noted the deadline.

“We want to get this government funding in place as soon as possible. And I think, under the circumstances, what we’re doing is appropriate,” he said.

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