Speed Reads

It's a big one

Senate passes massive $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package

The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed a massive $1.7 trillion dollar omnibus spending package 68-29, closing its 117th legislative session by approving a bill to keep the government funded through the coming fiscal year. 

The bill, a rough framework of which was unveiled earlier this month amid ongoing negotiations, includes increases in veterans' care and military spending; billions in aid to Ukraine amidst Russia's ongoing invasion; a ban on downloading TikTok to government-owned devices; and the Electoral Count Reform Act, which raises the threshold for lawmakers to challenge the electoral college process. 

Thursday's omnibus passage followed a series of amendment votes aimed at including a host of last-minute bills such as the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which expanded federal protections for pregnant people. The final vote was preceded by remarks by, and applause for outgoing Appropriations Committee leaders Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Richard Shelby (R-Al.) for whom the omnibus is their final vote as United States senators. 

Speaking on the Senate floor before the vote, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) heralded the bill, saying "the world's greatest military will get the funding increase that it needs, outpacing inflation. Meanwhile, non-defense, non-veterans spending will come in below the rate of inflation, for a real-dollar cut."

The bill is now set to move to the House, where it faces considerable opposition from some within the GOP caucus, who have pushed to delay the bill until the coming legislative term, when they regain the majority. Former President Donald Trump on Thursday also weighed in on the bill, urging Republicans to "Vote No!"

House legislators are set to vote on the bill before a stopgap funding deal expires on Friday.