Senate Passes $1.7 Trillion Government Funding Bill

The Senate approved the almost $1.7 trillion long-term government funding bill 68-29 on Thursday, sending the measure to the House for expedited approval before a looming deadline.

Why it matters: The legislation will fund the government until next September, preventing the new Congress from being embroiled in another spending battle when Republicans take control of the House in January.

  • With its approval, lawmakers will now be able to travel home in time for the holidays.

The panorama: The success of the Senate leadership in introducing this massive omnibus legislation is the final legislative victory for the 117th Congress, which has officially closed the chapter of two years of navigating a closely divided chamber.

  • The process of reaching final approval was arduous, and Congress was on the verge of being forced to start spending negotiations in the new year, something both Democrats and Republicans wanted to avoid.

Key Provisions:

  • Approximately $45 billion in aid to Ukraine war effort and NATO allies.
  • A Bipartisan Agreement to End a COVID-Era Medicaid Policy on April 1, 2023, phasing out requirements that prevented states from removing people from federally funded insurance.
  • Approval of the Electoral Count Law, which clarifies the role of the vice president in certifying the votes of the Electoral College in a presidential election. The bipartisan bill was written in an effort to help prevent another Jan. 6-style attack on democracy.
  • More than $38 billion in emergency disaster assistance for Americans in the West and Southeast affected by recent natural disasters, including hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and wildfires.
  • $2.6 billion in funding for January 6 legal efforts, including assistance “to further support prosecutions related to the January 6 attack on the Capitol and domestic terrorism cases.” It also includes $11.3 billion for the FBI’s efforts to curb extremist violence and domestic terrorism.
  • tax provisions intended to prevent fraudulent tax breaks stemming from land conservation agreements and legislation to boost retirement savings in tax-advantaged accounts. The additions to both provisions follow uncertainty over whether there would be any tax title in the government funding bill.
  • A 4.6% pay increase for military troops and a 22.4% increase in Veterans Administration health care support. It also includes approximately $55.7 billion to fight inflation and support critical services and housing assistance for veterans and their families, as well as $5 billion for the War Costs Toxic Exposure Fund.
  • ban TikTok on federal devices.
  • Orders US Capitol Police to consider expanding security for former Speakers of the House for one year after they leave office. It also provides $2.5 million for a “home security system program” for senators.

  • An additional $25 million for the National Labor Relations Board budget — a top priority for unions that brings its funding to more than $299 million.
  • More funding for children’s mental health and substance abuse, as well as additional funding to address the opioid epidemic.
  • $576 million for the Environmental Protection Agency, raising its funding to $10.1 billion, and increases National Park Service funding by 6.4% to help the agency with increased visitation.
  • $8 billion for child care and development block grant, a 30% increase in funding. The grant provides financial assistance to low-income families to pay for child care.

What was excluded:

  • energy permit reforms, a key priority for Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.).
  • An extension of the Enhanced Child Tax Credit.
  • $9 billion to fight the COVID pandemic.
  • The Safe Banking Law, which would have given the cannabis industry greater access to financial services.
  • A bipartisan deal on drug sentencing that would have increased sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine.

Whats Next: The bill is now in the House, where members are expected to vote on final passage on Friday.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with additional developments.

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