Schoolchildren, truckers, marijuana smokers, and fans of old-fashioned light bulbs are among the millions of people who had something extra riding on the big spending bill passed by Congress to keep the government running.
The $1.1 trillion measure approved Saturday night by the Senate and sent to President Obama is mostly about spending choices, such as adding $5.4 billion to fight the Ebola virus or trimming the Environmental Protection Agency's budget by $60 million. But it's also packed with a mishmash of policy add-ons known as riders, many of which couldn't get through Congress on their own.
Some things the bill would affect:
Internet taxes. Extends a freeze on state and local Internet access taxes to Oct. 1, 2015.
School lunches. Eases rules requiring more whole grains in school lunches and suspends the lower-sodium standards due to take effect in 2017, while keeping other healthy-eating rules.
Truck safety. Rolls back safety rules that were supposed to keep sleepy truckers from causing wrecks. The government's rules had effectively shortened truckers' maximum workweek from 82 hours to 70. The trucking industry fought back.
Banking. Loosens rules imposed after the 2008 financial crisis. The change relaxes regulation of high-risk investments known as derivatives; those rules were imposed to reduce risk to depositors' federally insured money and prevent more taxpayer bailouts.
Marijuana. Offers a mixed bag for pot smokers. The bill blocks the Justice Department from raiding medical marijuana dispensaries in states that permit them. But it also blocks federal and local spending to legalize marijuana in the District of Columbia, where voters approved recreational use in a November referendum.
Pensions. Allows some pension plans to cut benefits promised to current and future retirees. The change is designed to save some financially strapped plans from going broke. It applies to multiemployer plans, which cover more than 10 million people mostly at small, unionized employers, often in the construction business.
Campaign money. Allows more money to flow into political parties. Under the new rules, each superrich donor could give almost $1.6 million per election cycle to political parties and their campaign committees. The comparable limit for 2014's elections was $194,400.
Light bulbs. Attempts to switch off federal rules that are making it harder to find old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. The bill extends a ban on the government's spending money to enforce the ongoing phase-out of incandescent bulbs. It may not have much effect, since manufacturers and stores are already well-along in the switch to spiral bulbs and other energy-saving alternatives.