US House passes $1.7Trln omnibus, sending it to Biden desk
The United States House of Representatives passed the omnibus spending bill, sending the bill to Biden's desk.
The US House of Representatives passed Friday a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill for 2023, funding the federal government and avoiding a shutdown that was expected to kick off when existing funding expired.
House lawmakers passed the omnibus in a vote of 225-201, sending the bill to US President Joe Biden to be signed into law with a narrow difference.
The Senate passed the legislation on Thursday. Lawmakers also included a measure providing one more week of government funding to give Biden time to sign the bill.
The omnibus approves approximately $1.7 trillion in government spending, including $858 billion for US defense and $45 billion for Ukrainian defense. Lawmakers also included an amendment allowing seized Russian funds to be put toward aid for Ukraine.
The package includes $858 billion in defense expenditures as well as $44.9 billion to continue to support the war in Ukraine.
Furthermore, the bill entailed $772.5 billion for non-defense discretionary programs, including $118.7 billion for Veterans Affairs medical care, a 22% increase, and $40.6 billion to assist US communities affected by recent environmental hazards such as hurricanes and floods.
The bill's text, which spans 4,155 pages and included expenditures until the end of the fiscal year of 2023, was released by the Senate and House Appropriations Committees.
The budget bill was passed the Senate with a majority vote of 68-29.
Last week, on December 17, in order to give politicians time to negotiate a broader agreement, the US Senate approved a stopgap spending bill, which was later signed by the US President, in order to avert a complete government shutdown.
However, some Republicans such as Kevin McCarthy expressed opposition to the deal, with lawmakers arguing that Congress, instead, should pass a short-term resolution that temporarily funds the government until the new Congress - which will assume office on January 3 - can draft a comprehensive budget. Republicans will be holding the House majority then.
The Senate's 71-19 vote to extend the deadline for passing a funding measure until December 23 comes as negotiators continue to work on their omnibus spending package, which is expected to cost $1.7 trillion. Congress had until midnight Friday to enact a funding bill to avert a shutdown.
Republicans in the House had hoped to wait until after they take over the house in January in order to have a bigger role in the spending legislation. They had rejected attempts to draft the broader package before then.
Given their victory in the midterm elections on November 8, Kevin McCarthy called for Congress to enact a longer-term funding plan that would finance the government at current levels until the end of the year.
McCarthy wrote on his Twitter "The last-minute spending 'deal' was made by people who are on their way out the door. House Republicans won't support wasting your tax dollars on another massive spending blowout."