The House is expected to vote on a $1.7 trillion spending bill on Friday, hoping to avoid a government shutdown before heading home for the holidays.
The Senate passed the measure Thursday, just before the funding deadline of Friday night, along with a bill to extend the deadline by one week, to December 30, to allow enough time for the year-long bill to be formally processed and sent to President Joe Biden’s desk the following week.
Before voting on the year-long bill, the House is expected to approve the same one-week extension.
However, if House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy delivers an extended floor speech, known as a “magic minute,” which allows party leaders in the House to speak for as long as they want, the timing of final passage of the broader bill could be pushed back.
Members on both sides of the aisle told CNN that the California Republican is planning such a speech, which could take a long time before the vote on the larger spending bill is called. McCarthy’s office has been contacted by CNN for comment.
On the floor Thursday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer stated that the chamber will begin voting after 9 a.m. ET, with at least one procedural vote before moving on to final passage later in the day.
The massive spending bill for fiscal year 2023, known as an omnibus on Capitol Hill, includes $772.5 billion for non-defense, domestic programmes and $858 billion for defence. It includes approximately $45 billion in emergency aid to Ukraine and NATO allies, as well as approximately $40 billion to respond to natural disasters such as hurricanes, wildfires, and flooding.
Other key provisions in the bill include an overhaul of the 1887 Electoral Count Act, which aims to make it more difficult to overturn a certified presidential election – the first legislative response to the US Capitol insurgency and then-President Donald Trump’s relentless pressure campaign to remain in power despite his 2020 loss. The spending bill also includes the Secure Act 2.0, a package designed to make it easier to save for retirement, as well as a provision prohibiting the use of TikTok on government devices.
The package’s legislative text, which runs more than 4,000 pages, was released in the middle of the night – around 1:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday – leaving little time for rank-and-file lawmakers and the public to review its contents before Congress plans to vote to pass it.
Following its release, the massive government funding bill stalled for days due to a GOP amendment, Title 42, regarding Trump-era immigration policy, which could have sunk the entire $1.7 trillion legislation in the Democratic-controlled House.
Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee insisted on a vote on his amendment to maintain the immigration policy that allows migrants to be turned back at the border, which Republicans strongly support. Because Lee’s measure was expected to pass with a simple majority, there was concern that it would be added to the government funding bill, despite the fact that several centrist Democrats support extending the policy, only to be rejected in the House.
However, senators made a breakthrough in their negotiations on Thursday morning.
Senators Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Jon Tester of Montana proposed an amendment to give moderates another way to vote in favour of extending Title 42, which the administration and most Democrats want to repeal.
Both amendments were defeated, as expected. Lee’s amendment to extend Trump’s immigration policy was defeated 47-50. Sinema-Democratic Tester’s alternate version was defeated 10-87.