Over House GOP Objections, Senate Passes Full Year Spending Package

(Photo by Bill O'Leary-Pool/Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
Font Size:

The Senate passed a budget for Fiscal Year 2023 in a bipartisan 68-29 vote, over the objections of House Republicans.

Eighteen Republicans joined with all 50 Democrats to pass the $1.7 trillion budget, which includes $858 billion in defense spending and roughly $772 billion in domestic spending. Passed shortly after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed a joint session of Congress, the bill also includes $45 billion in military and economic aid to the beleaguered nation.

I brought a lot of bills to the floor here. This is the last one I brought to the floor of the Senate, but it’s one that we have to act quickly on, or we’re going to be closing down our government. This bill provides $1.7 trillion, the omnibus appropriations bill, $42 billion in aid to Ukraine, $27 billion for victims of natural disasters. Most of what’s in here has been put together in a bipartisan fashion, funding things that we all say we agree with,” outgoing Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont said in a floor speech.

In addition to the disbursed funds, the legislation includes a TikTok ban and a reform of the Electoral Count Act. Seventeen amendments received votes on the floor as part of a time agreement between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Of those, eight passed, including new protections for women breastfeeding in workplaces and benefits for survivors of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. (RELATED: Senate Passes Government Funding Resolution, Averting Shutdown)

Schumer initially planned to hold votes on the bill on Thursday night, but debate over a Title 42 amendment from Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee delayed final passage. Lee proposed an amendment that would prohibit the Biden administration from ending the pandemic-era immigration provision, but its inclusion would have threatened final passage in the House. Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Independent Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema initially voted in support of the amendment, but changed their votes on the floor to keep it out of the full package.

House Republicans opposed Senate GOP leadership’s support for a full-year funding package before the 118th Congress, since Republicans will hold a majority in the House then. They instead argued that Congress should pass a continuing resolution that would give the GOP a stronger negotiating hand, but Leahy objected to the proposal when Lee offered it.

Thirteen House Republicans released a letter addressed to Republican senators threatening to block legislation that they support if they support the omnibus package. Although prospective Speaker Kevin McCarthy tweeted his support for the letter, he reportedly met with GOP senators on Wednesday without mentioning the threat.

Republican North Carolina Rep. Dan Bishop, one of the signatories, highlighted several provisions of the omnibus bill that some Republicans object to. The legislation creates a pandemic preparedness office in the Department of Health and Human Services, which Bishop described as part of an effort to “stifle civil liberties.” The bill also adds $6 billion for green energy and environmental justice programs, and $11 billion for the FBI to investigate domestic extremism.