House passes $1.7 trillion government spending bill as funding deadline looms


The House of Representatives on Friday voted to pass a massive $1.7 trillion spending bill that would fund key government operations for federal agencies and provide emergency aid for Ukraine and natural disaster relief. The bill will next go to President Joe Biden to be signed into law.

Government funding is currently set to expire later on Friday — and lawmakers raced against time to pass the measure by that deadline. The Senate passed the legislation on Thursday along with a bill that would extend the deadline by a week to Dec. 30 to provide enough time for the year-long bill to be formally processed and sent to Biden. The House approved a one-week delay on Friday ahead of a final vote on the broader spending bill.

The massive fiscal year 2023 spending bill, known on Capitol Hill as the omnibus bill, provides $772.5 billion for nondefense, domestic programs and $858 billion for defense. That includes about $45 billion in emergency aid to Ukraine and NATO allies, and about $40 billion to respond to natural disasters such as hurricanes, wildfires and floods.

Other key provisions of the bill include sweeping reforms to the 1887 electoral counting law aimed at making it more difficult to overturn certified presidential elections — the first legislative response to the U.S. Capitol insurrection, and the insurrection of then-President Donald Trump. Trump’s relentless pressure campaign to stay in power despite his 2020 losses.

Among other provisions, the spending bill includes the Security Act 2.0, a package aimed at simplifying retirement saving and measures to ban TikTok from government devices.

The more than 4,000-page legislative text of the package was released in the middle of the night at around 1:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday, giving rank-and-file lawmakers and the public little time to scrutinize its contents before they go to votes in the House and Senate.

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy criticized the $1.7 trillion spending bill in remarks ahead of the House vote.

“This is a monster. It’s one of the most disgraceful acts I’ve ever seen in this institution,” the California Republican said. “The appropriations process has failed the American public, and there is no better example of one-party rule in the House, Senate, and the greatest failure of the presidency for this bill as the nail in the coffin.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi later expressed support for the spending bill, while noting that the moment “could be my last speech at this floor as Speaker of the House, and I hope it’s my shortest.”

The California Democrat took issue with McCarthy’s statement, saying she was “sorry to hear the minority leader say earlier that this legislation is the most disgraceful thing to happen in this House.”

“I can’t help but wonder, did he forget about January 6?” she asked, referring to the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The massive government funding bill initially stalled in the Senate as Republicans proposed amendments to Section 42, a Trump-era immigration policy, that could allow the Democrat-controlled House to veto the entire $1.7 trillion bill. Dollar legislation.

Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah insisted on a vote on his amendment to maintain an immigration policy that would allow migrants to be deported at the border, a policy Republicans strongly support. Because Lee’s measure is expected to be set with a simple majority threshold, there were concerns it would pass and be added to the government funding bill, as several centrist Democrats supported extending the policy — only to be defeated in the House.

But senators achieved a breakthrough in Thursday morning’s talks.

Feel. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Jon Tester of Montana have authored an amendment that seeks to give moderates another way to vote in favor of extending Section 42, which the administration and most Democrats want repealed.

Unsurprisingly, neither of these amendments passed. Lee’s amendment to extend Trump-era immigration policy lost 47-50. The Democratic alternative version of Sinema-Tester trailed 10-87.

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