UPDATE 3-U.S. Congress approves sweeping fiscal package
(Recasts with final Senate vote)
By Richard Cowan and Susan Cornwell
WASHINGTON Dec 18 (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate passed sweeping fiscal legislation on Friday averting a government shutdown, locking in billions of dollars of tax breaks and scrapping a 40-year-old ban on the export of U.S. oil.
Brushing aside concerns about opening a hole in the budget deficit, senators voted 65-33 to approve a bill containing about $1.8 trillion worth of federal spending and tax breaks.
President Barack Obama has said he would sign the measures into law.
At more than 2,000 pages, the spending portion of the bill keeps the government funded through next September, preventing a damaging government shutdown like the one in 2013.
Tax breaks worth $680 billion over 10 years also are part of the bipartisan fiscal deal. The tax elements were a major victory for corporate lobbyists and Republicans. Dozens of previously temporary tax breaks, such as the research and development tax credit, will now be permanent.
But middle-class Americans also benefit under the tax measure. It offers aid to students, low-income parents, teachers and others, attracting support from the White House and House Democrats.
The legislation lifts a four-decades-old ban on U.S. crude oil exports, a historic move that nevertheless will have little immediate effect on oil markets. Continuación...