Senate Approves $1.5 Trillion Funding Bill, Averting Government Shutdown
The Senate passed a $1.5 trillion spending bill on Thursday night that included a $13.6 billion emergency package that will send humanitarian and economic relief to Ukraine amidst Russia’s invasion.
After voting in favor of the bipartisan legislation 68-31, the 2,741-page bill was sent off to President Joe Biden‘s desk.
“[The bill] will reduce costs for families and businesses, support our economic recovery, and advance American leadership abroad,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. “With these resources, we will be able to deliver historic support for the Ukrainian people as they defend their country and democracy, launch a bold new initiative to drive unprecedented progress in curing cancer and other diseases and provide additional support to our law enforcement so they can protect our communities.
In addition to humanitarian and economic assistance, the Ukraine measure will send more U.S. troops to surrounding countries to ease fears about the nearby war. The rest of the funds will be focused on strengthening allies’ defenses through protecting their energy supplies and cybersecurity.
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Back home, leaders of both parties walked away happy, with the Democrats getting a nearly seven percent increase for non-defense agencies that they have been seeking since Biden took office, resulting in an increase to $730 billion. Domestic initiatives will be directed toward additional funding for schools, childcare, housing and renewable energy, especially in minority communities.
The Republicans secured $782 for national defense, in a six percent increase for military upgrades and a pay raise for troops. The additional funding will also go toward improving schools on military bases.
Democrats also revived earmarks, which fund projects in lawmakers’ hometowns. Congress had dropped back in 2011 after voters complained that it was a misuse of taxpayer dollars.
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