An end-of-the-year, catch-all appropriations package being put together will likely carry no more than four of the annual spending bills, with the fiscal 2010 Defense Appropriations measure as the legislative vehicle, Senate Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye said Monday.

“There is common talk around here that Defense is going to be used as a big truck” with “at the most … four” bills hitching a ride, Inouye said.

Inouye indicated the Defense bill — which will not move until after Thanksgiving — is the likely candidate to carry a debt-ceiling increase, a decision he said was being made by Democratic leaders. Congress needs to raise the debt limit by the end of the year, according to the Treasury Department.

The other bills likely to be part of the omnibus are the three that have not been considered by the Senate — Financial Services, Labor-Health and Human Services and State-Foreign Operations. The House has cleared all 12 appropriations bills.

Five of the 12 bills have been signed by President Obama, while Defense, Transportation-HUD and Commerce-Justice-Science are waiting for House and Senate negotiators to approve final versions for approval by both chambers.

Inouye believes the Transportation-Housing and Urban Development and Commerce-Justice-Science bills can be finished individually.

See the full report at CongressDaily http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/1109/111709cdam1.htm’

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