Lawmakers unveil $1.7 trillion bill to avoid shutdown, boost Ukraine

Washington – Congressional leaders announced a $1.7 trillion spending package across the government early Tuesday morning. This included another massive aid round to Ukraine, his nearly 10% increase in defense spending, and nearly $40 billion to help communities across the country recover from droughts, hurricanes and other natural disasters. included. disaster.

The 4,155-page bill includes approximately $772.5 billion in nondefense discretionary programs and $858 billion in defense spending, and runs through the end of the September fiscal year.

Lawmakers tried to cram as many priorities as possible into a sprawling package that is likely the last major bill in the current Congress. They are racing to complete their passage by the midnight Friday deadline. Otherwise, we face the possibility of a partial government shutdown as we enter the Christmas holidays.

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

According to Senator Patrick Leahy, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the spending package includes about $45 billion in emergency aid to Ukraine to fight Russian aggression. This is the largest U.S. aid to Ukraine to date, surpassing President Joe Biden’s $37 billion emergency request, ensuring that funds will flow to the war effort in the coming months.

The United States has provided approximately $68 billion to Ukraine in military, economic and humanitarian assistance to date.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said: “Winter cold is falling on Eastern Europe. If our friends in Ukraine want victory over Russia, the United States will stand firm on the side of our friends of democracy abroad. I have to face it,” he said.

The law also includes historic amendments to federal election law aimed at preventing future presidents or presidential candidates from trying to overturn elections. The bipartisan review of the Electoral College Act follows former President Donald Trump’s efforts to persuade Republican lawmakers and then-Vice President Mike Pence to oppose the recognition of President Joe Biden’s victory on January 6, 2021. It corresponds directly.

“We are now one step closer to defending our democracy and preventing a recurrence of January 6th.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has warned that if fiscal 2023 appropriations bills don’t win bipartisan support this week, he will seek another short-term patch for next year, prompting a new majority in the House. Guaranteed Republican occupying shape the package. .

Leahy opposed that approach when making the bill public, stating: We either do our job and fund the government, or we abdicate responsibility without real progress. ”

McConnell said the GOP negotiations were ultimately successful. Many would no doubt vote against it, but he framed the long-term appropriations bill as a Republican victory. He said that while Republicans managed to increase defense spending well beyond Biden’s demands, they scaled back some of the increases Biden wanted for domestic spending.

“We moved a lot of money off the Democratic Party’s spending wish list to the defense and military, but the overall cost of the package didn’t go up,” McConnell said.

Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said in a statement that neither side got everything they wanted in the deal. It is good for our economy, our competitiveness and our country, and I urge Congress to send it to the President’s desk without delay.”

Spending on non-defense programs will increase by about 6%. The figure includes his 22% increase in VA medical care to help expand medical services and pay benefits to veterans exposed to toxic burns while on duty. Some environmental advocacy groups have expressed frustration with increased funding for agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Park Service, saying they are not keeping up with inflation.

The bill’s release was delayed by negotiations over related language FBI future headquarters locationLawmakers in Maryland argue that ensuring that the predominantly black community gets its fair share of federal investments should be considered more thoroughly as part of the selection process. They advocate building their headquarters at one of two sites in Prince George’s County, Maryland, which is predominantly black. Virginia is also vying for the headquarters.

A Senate Democratic aide familiar with the negotiations said Schumer put the wording into the spending bill, and the General Services Department held “individual and detailed consultations” with lawmakers representing sites in Maryland and Virginia to discuss their views. He said that he made efforts to obtain

Lawmakers are almost three months behind on completing the 2023 spending package. It was due to be completed by October 1 last year, when the government’s fiscal year began.

The last time Congress enacted any appropriations bill ever was in 1996, when the Senate finished its work on September 30, the very last day of the budget year. Then-President Bill Clinton signed it on the same day.

The Senate is expected to vote on the appropriations bill first, requiring the support of at least 10 Republican senators before the bill is considered in the House. As was the case with the recent comprehensive appropriations bill, lawmakers expressed concern about passing a law containing thousands of pages in a short period of time.

“We haven’t seen a single page of the Pelosi-Schumer appropriations bill yet. They expect us to pass it by the end of this week,” tweeted Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla “That’s insane.

“Many of my colleagues are frustrated,” McConnell said. But he cites national security concerns that he wants the bill passed, saying that failure to do so would “create chaos and uncertainty for our military” and that China is pouring money into new research. . and weapons for its army.

“This is not a close call. The Senate should pass this bill,” McConnell said.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/12/20/lawmakers-unveil-bill-to-avoid-govt-shutdown-boost-ukraine/ Lawmakers unveil $1.7 trillion bill to avoid shutdown, boost Ukraine

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