The US Home of Representatives palms over a $1.7 trillion invoice to fund the federal government by September and sends it to Biden
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) addresses reporters during a news conference at the US Capitol in Washington July 29, 2022.
Jonathan Ernest | Reuters
WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday passed 225-201 a $1.7 trillion bill to fund the federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year, just in time to hit the midnight deadline to avoid a partial shutdown of federal agencies .
Overall, the legislation earmarks $772.5 billion for non-defense discretionary programs and $858 billion for defense, according to a summary released by a Senate committee earlier this week. The numbers represent a roughly 5% increase in non-defense spending and an 8% increase for the Pentagon and national defense.
The support measure passed the US Senate on Thursday by a vote of 68 to 29. Now that it has been approved by the House of Representatives, the bill goes to President Joe Biden, who has said he is eager to sign it into law.
The approval of the omnibus legislation in the House and Senate marks the latest bipartisan victory for Biden, who has had a string of legislative victories over the past year on bills passed with both Republican and Democratic support.
It is also the last major success in the speakership of House Speaker Nancy Pelosis. The California Democrat plans to step down from the leadership in the next Congress. By passing the federal spending package, Pelosi ensured that the level of federal funding would be set in stone while Democrats still controlled the House. Republicans take over the Chamber on January 3rd.
These guaranteed funding amounts include $44.9 billion in military, humanitarian and economic assistance to Ukraine. That sum includes money to replenish Pentagon stockpiles of weapons that the US has sent to Ukraine, as well as additional aid to NATO allies.
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The vote in the House of Representatives came just days after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy traveled to Washington and delivered a historic speech to a joint special session of Congress on Wednesday. Dressed in military garb and boots, he urged lawmakers to keep funding his country’s “war of independence” against invading Russian forces.
In addition to aid to Ukraine, the law provides $40 billion in new funding for states and tribal reserves to help communities recover from natural disasters like wildfires and major storms. It also bans the use of Tik Tok on government devices, includes $1 billion in aid to poor countries struggling with climate change, and makes it easier for Americans to save for retirement.
It also includes several new amendments approved by the Senate on Thursday. Employers would be required to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers, similar to how the Americans with Disabilities Act was implemented.
Another notable change updates the corporate merger fee structure so that small mergers pay lower fees and large mergers pay higher fees.
However, not all provisions of the Funding Act are directly related to state funding.
Part of the bill would revise the Electoral Count Act of 1887, a law that former President Donald Trump and his allies wanted to use to reverse Trump’s loss in the 2020 presidential election.
The new version clarifies that the vice president’s role in certifying state voter counts is purely ceremonial and he has no authority to disapprove votes confirmed by individual states.
In 2020, Trump repeatedly pressured then-Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to confirm electoral votes for Biden. Pence resisted this pressure during the January 6, 2021 certification process and became a target of the pro-Trump rioters who attacked the Capitol that day.
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