$1.7 trillion deal unveiled to avoid government shutdown

The bill, which runs 4,155 pages, includes about $772.5 billion for discretionary non-defense programs and $858 billion for defense funding.

WASHINGTON — Congressional leaders early Tuesday unveiled a $1.7 trillion federal spending package that would include another major round of aid to Ukraine, a nearly 10% increase in defense spending and about $40 billion in support to communities across the country in recovering from droughts, hurricanes and other natural disasters.

The bill, which is 4,155 pages long, includes about $772.5 billion for discretionary non-defense programs and $858 billion for defense funding and would last through the fiscal year-end in September.

Lawmakers worked to pack as many priorities as possible into the sprawling package, likely the last major bill of the current Congress. They run to complete the passage before a Deadline Friday at midnight or face the prospect of a partial government shutdown over the Christmas holidays.

Lawmakers leading the negotiations released the details of the bill just before 2 a.m. Tuesday.

The spending package includes about $45 billion in emergency aid to Ukraine while it fights Russia’s invasion, after Sen. Patrick Leahy, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. It would be the largest American aid delivery to Ukraine to date, even surpassing that of President Joe Biden $37 billion Emergency request and ensure the war effort is funded for the coming months.

The US has provided about $68 billion to Ukraine in previous rounds of military, economic and humanitarian aid.

“The completion of the omnibus is critical, absolutely critical to supporting our friends in Ukraine,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said to DN.Y.

The legislation also includes historic revisions to the federal election law aimed at preventing future presidents or presidential candidates from overturning an election. The bipartisan revision of the Electoral Count Act is a direct response to former President Donald Trump’s efforts to persuade Republican lawmakers and then-Vice President Mike Pence to object to the confirmation of President Joe Biden’s victory on Jan. 6, 2021 .

Republican Senate Chairman Mitch McConnell has warned that if the fiscal 2023 spending measure doesn’t gain bipartisan support this week, he would seek another near-term patch next year to ensure the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives can design the package .

Leahy argued against this approach when the bill was published, saying: “The choice is clear. We can either do our job and fund the government, or we can relinquish our responsibilities with no real way forward.”

Despite the warning, McConnell has called the longer-term spending bill a victory for the GOP, though many will no doubt vote against it. He said Republicans have been successful in increasing defense spending well beyond Biden’s desire while scaling back some of Biden’s desired increase in domestic spending.

“Congress rejects the Biden administration’s vision and does exactly the opposite,” McConnell said.

The unveiling of the bill was delayed by haggling over language related to the location of the FBI’s future headquarters. Maryland lawmakers have argued that ensuring that predominantly black communities receive their fair share of federal investment should be given more thorough consideration as part of the selection process. They advocate building the headquarters in one of two locations in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

In September, the General Services Administration released a site selection plan based on five criteria, with the highest weighting, at 35%, being proximity to the FBI training academy in Quantico, Virginia. Advance equity was weighted at 15%.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said at a recent forum that an executive order issued by Biden early in his term emphasized that the issue of racial justice was not just an issue for a single department, but needed to be a matter for the whole government.

“I would argue that the GSA and FBI obviously didn’t get the message given the low weight they give to this factor,” Van Hollen said.

A Democratic Senate staffer familiar with the negotiations said Schumer has been working to include language in the spending bill to ensure the GSA administrator conducts “separate and detailed consultations” with lawmakers representing the Maryland and Virginia sites to get their perspectives.

Lawmakers are nearly three months late in finalizing the 2023 spending package. It was due to be ready by October 1st last year, when the government’s fiscal year began.

The last time Congress passed all of its spending legislation by then was in 1996, when the Senate finished its work on September 30, the very last day of the fiscal year. Then-President Bill Clinton signed it the same day.

The Senate is expected to vote on the spending bill first, requiring the support of at least 10 Republican senators to pass it before the measure is considered by the House of Representatives. As with recent spending bills to collect spending, lawmakers have expressed concerns about passing thousands of pages of legislation in the short term.

“We still haven’t seen a single page of the Pelosi-Schumer spending bill and they expect us to pass it by the end of this week,” R-Fla Sen. Rick Scott tweeted. “It’s crazy.”

https://www.kvue.com/article/news/nation-world/lawmakers-shutdown-bill/507-63de0ad7-50e1-4d9b-85e4-07b8c4edabfb $1.7 trillion deal unveiled to avoid government shutdown

Laura Coffey

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