WASHINGTON — The Senate passed a massive $1.7 trillion spending bill Thursday that finances federal agencies through September and provides another significant round of military and economic aid to Ukraine one day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s dramatic address to a joint meeting of Congress.
The bill, which runs for 4,155 pages, includes about $772.5 billion for domestic programs and $858 billion for defense and would finance federal agencies through the fiscal year at the end of September.
The bill passed by a vote of 68-29 and now goes to the House for a final vote before it can be sent to President Joe Biden to be signed into law.
“This is one of the most significant appropriations packages we have done in a very long time,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “The range of people it helps is large and deep.”
Lawmakers were racing to get the bill approved before a partial government shutdown would occur at midnight Friday, and many were anxious to complete the task before a deep freeze and wintry conditions left them stranded in Washington for the holidays. Many also want to lock in government funding before a new GOP-controlled House next year could make it harder to find compromise on spending.
Senators heard from Zelenskyy about the importance of U.S. aid to his country for its war with Russia on Wednesday night. The measure provides about $45 billion in military, economic and humanitarian assistance for the devastated nation and NATO allies, more than Biden even requested, raising total assistance so far to more than $100 billion.
“Your money is not charity,” Zelenskyy told lawmakers and Americans watching from home. “It’s an investment in the global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.”
Lawmakers were in disagreement over which amendments were to be voted upon to lock in a final vote on an expedited basis. The impasses had the potential to prevent passage of the bill before the midnight Friday deadline. But negotiations overnight led to a breakthrough and senators gathered early Thursday morning to work through more than a dozen amendments before getting to a final vote. (AP)
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., speaks during a news conference, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022, after the passing of the omnibus on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo)
December 23, 2022
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