Oil exports

Democrats wielded a lifting of the ban as a major bargaining chip in the spending negotiations, winning extensions of green energy tax incentives and other environmental concessions in order to secure the votes of Democrats.

Alternative energy

Democrats successfully forced Republicans to include extensions of tax credits for wind and solar producers in exchange for lifting the crude oil export ban.


The agreement delays three taxes that were included in the Affordable Care Act. The legislation would delay taxes for two years on medical device manufacturers and expensive employer-sponsored health plans known as the Cadillac Tax. The bill also includes a one-year delay of a tax on health insurance plans.

Charitable donations

The tax agreement permanently expands credits that allow individuals, corporations and farmers to donate land to conservation and includes an expanded tax break for businesses donating food inventory.

9/ 11 responders

Congress voted in 2010 to create a new federal health program for police officers, firefighters, construction workers and others who worked at ground zero in the immediate aftermath of 9/ 11. The spending bill extends the health program until 2090 and adds another five years to a separate victims compensation fund, costing a total of $8 billion.


Democratic leaders nixed new restrictions on refugees from Iraq and Syria, setting up a political debate in 2016.

Visa waiver program

Lawmakers of both parties scrambled to respond to the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., and found common ground in reforms to the visa waiver program that currently allows 20 million visitors a year into the United States with minimal screening.


Provisions ban federal funding to perform most abortions and block abortions for federal prisoners. Republicans did win a modest reduction in funding for the United Nations Population Fund, an organization that has been accused of supporting abortions abroad — a charge the organization denies. But the bill does not defund the Title X family planning or teen pregnancy prevention programs or prevent Planned Parenthood from accessing federal health care funds or allow employers to block their employees from receiving insurance coverage for abortion.

Research and development tax credit

The legislation permanently extends and expands the popular tax credit for business research and development costs.


Democrats pushed to end a ban on federal funding of gun violence research and a measure that would prevent individuals included on federal terrorist watch lists from purchasing weapons. Republicans rejected both.

Child Tax Credit

The agreement permanently extends the Child Tax Credit of $1,000 per qualifying child and creates refunds for some low-income workers.

Earned Income Tax Credit

The deal permanently extends the program, including a once-temporary expansion for families with three or more children.

Tax credits for college

Democrats pushed to make sure the legislation would permanently extend and expand tax credits for college expenses.

Tax credits for teachers

The legislation permanently allows elementary and secondary school teachers to deduct up to $250 in qualified expenses on their personal tax returns.

Clean water

Democrats blocked Republican attempts to undo the Environmental Protection Agency's recent update of regulations extending federal protections.

Climate change

Republicans failed to strike down or at least delay the Clean Power Plant rules issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, the first federal effort to limit carbon emissions from U.S. power plants.

Food labeling

The spending bill repeals federal laws mandating that meatpackers identify where animals are raised and slaughtered.

Land and Water Conservation Fund

The spending bill included a three-year reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a federal program dating to 1965 that helps public entities purchase property for environmental protection.

Financial regulations

Democrats rejected all amendments that would repeal or scale back the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill.


Republicans did not succeed in adding riders that would affect President Obama's executive orders regarding enforcement of immigration laws or local jurisdictions' "sanctuary city" policies.


The bill includes compromise language on information-sharing legislation that the House and Senate passed this year to encourage businesses to pass details about hackers and potential cyber threats to the government in exchange for liability protections.

Transit benefits

The bill permanently matches the level of pretax transit benefits to pretax benefits for parking. Commuters of all stripes will be able to set aside $255 a month for either car or public transportation expenses.


The bill bars transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the U.S. and blocks the District of Columbia from taxing marijuana sales.

Washington Post