The Senate overwhelmingly approved a $1.7 trillion spending bill Thursday, including record amounts for domestic programmes and defence priorities, as lawmakers scrambled to approve the massive bill as a winter storm threatened to paralyse the nation’s capital.
The House was expected to follow suit later Thursday, passing legislation to fund the remainder of the fiscal year 2023, which runs through September 30, and avert a partial government shutdown, which was set to begin at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.
The Senate’s 68-29 vote came a day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed a joint session of Congress, urging lawmakers to approve billions of dollars in additional military, economic, and humanitarian aid as the country tries to repel Russia’s invasion. The budget includes approximately $45 billion for Ukraine.
“This is one of the most significant appropriations packages we’ve put together in a long time. It benefits a large number of people “Before the vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said on the floor. “The Senate, after much hard work and compromise, is funding the government with aggressive investments in American families, workers, and national defence.”
According to the bill’s summary, the bipartisan legislation would allocate $772.5 billion for non-defense discretionary programmes and $858 billion for defence funding. Aside from additional emergency assistance for Ukraine, the package includes funds for NATO allies, rural development, food assistance programmes, and military and veteran support.
Despite running more than 4,000 pages, the bill omitted several progressive demands, including the extension of a more generous child tax credit and legislation known as the EQUAL Act, which would eliminate federal sentencing disparities between crack cocaine and powder cocaine offences.
Senate passage of the bill was hampered by disagreements over Title 42, a Trump-era policy that allows Customs and Border Protection to deport migrants to Mexico or their home countries without the usual legal review in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in holding facilities.
Despite the absence of some key measures, several agencies and programmes were set to receive increased funding.