The United States House of Representatives voted on Friday to pass a $1.7 trillion spending bill to avoid a partial government shutdown, which is due to take effect at midnight in Washington DC (05:00 GMT on Saturday).
The spending bill survived a Republican-led motion for adjournment and passed 225 to 201 across parties. As one of the last important acts of the Democrat-led Congress, it now goes to Democratic President Joe Biden’s desk.
The US Senate had already approved the measure on Thursday. The passage of the bill by both houses of Congress helps prevent a shutdown that would have furloughed government workers and shut down non-essential services.
Remember what Pelosi said about Obamacare: “You have to pass it to find out what’s in it.” That’s exactly the same. The Democrats waited until the last minute in a lame Congress to throw a 4,000-page 2 trillion dollar bill into the American people’s laps. https://t.co/2RUI08VXbl
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) December 23, 2022
“The bipartisan funding bill advances key priorities for our country and rounds off a year of historic bipartisan progress for the American people,” US President Joe Biden said in a statement on Friday, adding that he would sign the bill “as soon as it reaches my desk.”
The package includes a 10 percent increase in military spending, bringing the US military budget to $858 billion, $772.5 for various domestic programs and $45 billion in additional military, economic, and humanitarian aid to Ukraine and NATO allies.
Republican members of the House of Representatives passed the 4,155-page spending bill on Friday, which Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California called a “monstrosity.”
McCarthy is expected to become Speaker of the House of Representatives when Republicans take control of the chamber next year after the 2022 midterm elections have ruled the majority in their favor.
He will replace current Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who recently announced that she will resign as Democratic Party leader in the House of Representatives.
“It was sad to hear the minority leader say that this legislation is the most shameful thing to see in the House of Representatives in this Congress,” Pelosi said on Friday, echoing McCarthy’s remarks. “I can’t help but ask myself: Had he forgotten January 6?
House Republicans had hoped to postpone the vote on the spending bill until they took control next year. Ahead of Friday’s vote, some party members criticized that the bill would increase government debt and worsen inflation.
Some Republican lawmakers also expressed frustration at the $45 billion price for another round of aid to Ukraine as the country continues to fight the Russian invasion.
While US support for Ukraine is strongly supported by both parties, McCarthy said that the Republican majority would not issue a “blank check” for Ukraine in the future.
Another Republican from California, Mike Garcia, accused his colleagues in the House of Representatives of not being physically present for the vote, as they did earlier this week during a visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“The fact that more members of Congress came this week to listen to a speech by a president of a foreign nation than to vote on the annual operating budget for our entire country is cold. We need to do better,” he said.
During his trip to the USA, Zelenskyy said he was confident that US support would continue.
Less attention was paid to a 10 percent increase in the country’s military spending, bringing the military budget to record levels of $858 billion from $740 billion in the previous year. Spending on domestic programs also rose by around 6 percent.
An additional $40 billion has been set aside for disaster relief programs for communities across the country struggling to recover from drought, floods, wildfires, and other events.
The spending bill is expected to be the last major bill passed before the new Congress meets in January. While the Republican Party will control the House of Representatives, the Democrats will retain a narrow majority in the Senate.
The divided Congress is expected to quell hopes that the Biden administration will be able to make progress on the more ambitious aspects of the Democratic Party’s agenda, such as immigration reform and gun control.
In the last two years, the Democratic majority in both chambers of Congress has been divided, as conservative-oriented members have discontinued initiatives on issues such as voting rights and climate change.
However, the party has successfully passed major bills that include investments in infrastructure, the US technology sector, and tackling climate change.