The Senate passed a massive $1.7 trillion spending bill Thursday that finances federal agencies through September and provides another large round of aid to Ukraine one day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's dramatic address to a joint meeting of Congress. The bill, which runs for 4,155 pages, includes about $772.5 billion for domestic programs and $858 billion for defense and would finance federal agencies through the fiscal year at the end of September, per the AP. The bill passed by a vote of 68-29 and now goes to the House for a final vote before it can be sent to President Joe Biden to be signed into law.
Lawmakers were racing to get the bill approved before a partial government shutdown would occur at midnight Friday, and many were anxious to complete the task before a deep freeze and wintry conditions left them stranded in Washington for the holidays. Many also want to lock in government funding before a new GOP-controlled House next year could make it harder to find compromise on spending.
- The measure provides about $45 billion in military, economic, and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine and NATO allies, more than Biden even requested, raising total assistance so far to more than $100 billion.
- The bill also contains roughly $40 billion in emergency spending in the US, mostly to assist communities across the country recovering from drought, hurricanes. and other natural disasters.
And, of course, it includes scores of policy changes unrelated to spending that lawmakers sought to include in what is going to be the last major bill of the Congress. One of the most notable examples was a historic revision to federal election law that aims to prevent any future presidents or presidential candidates from trying to overturn an election. The bipartisan overhaul of the Electoral Count Act is in direct response to former President Trump’s efforts to convince Republican lawmakers and then-Vice President Mike Pence to object to the certification of Biden’s victory on Jan. 6, 2021. (The package also includes changes to retirement savings plans.)