The Senate passes a authorities funding invoice, profitable the Home of Representatives vote

US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) holds a news conference on Capitol Hill on December 7, 2022 in Washington, DC to discuss the expanded Democratic Senate majority for the next Congress.

Evelyn Hockstein Reuters

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday approved a $1.7 trillion government funding bill and sent the bill to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass in time to meet a Friday night deadline to request a partial shutdown avert the federal government.

The final vote resulted in 68 yes votes and 29 no votes.

The 4,155-page bill will provide $772.5 billion for discretionary non-defense programs and $858 billion for defense funding, according to a summary released earlier this week by Senate Appropriations Committee chair Sen. Patrick Leahy , D-Vt, was published. The numbers represent an increase of about 5% in non-defense spending and an 8% increase for defense and Pentagon programs.

The law also provides $44.9 billion in military, humanitarian and economic assistance to Ukraine. The sum includes funds to replenish the Pentagon’s stockpile of weapons, which the US has sent to Ukraine, as well as additional aid to NATO allies.

The Senate vote came a day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy traveled to Washington and delivered a historic speech before a joint special session of Congress. 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 measure provides $40 billion in new funding for states and tribal reserves to help communities across the country recover from natural disasters such as wildfires and major storms.

It also overhauls the Federal Electoral Count Act, an 1887 law that former President Donald Trump and his allies used to try to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, which Trump lost.

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The changes clarify that the vice president’s role in confirming state voter counts would be purely ceremonial in nature and would not have the authority to overrule the results of a state-confirmed election.

In 2020, Trump repeatedly pressured then-Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to confirm electoral votes for President Joe Biden. Pence refused during the January 6, 2021 certification process and became the target of the pro-Trump rioters who attacked the Capitol that day.

The Senate vote on government funding was bipartisan. Republicans crossed party lines to support what many saw as must-pass legislation.

Among them was Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who urged his caucus to support the bill. He called it “imperfect but strong”.

“If Senate Republicans had controlled this chamber, we would have handled the appropriation process differently from top to bottom,” McConnell said in the Senate on Wednesday.

“But given the reality of where we are today, this week senators have two choices: we will either give our armed forces the resources and security they need, or we will deny them,” he said.

If the House of Representatives passes the bill, it will mark another significant 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. Some of the most notable were the Respect for Marriage Act, the Infrastructure Bill, and the CHIPS and Science Act.

Passing the federal spending package now will also ensure that the level of federal funding is set in stone while Democrats still control both the House and Senate. If either the Senate or House of Representatives doesn’t pass the bill, there’s a good chance it will be pushed into the new year, when Republicans will control the House of Representatives.

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