A major move was made by the House today as it passed a $1.3 trillion spending bill that could avert a government shutdown and increase funding for the military, border security, and other domestic programs. What remains to be seen is what the Senate will do. Two GOP senators who oppose the measure haven’t said whether they will vote for a delay and pass a Friday deadline for funding.
The House voted 256-167 on Thursday and sent the bipartisan compromise measure to the Senate. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney told reporters that President Donald Trump will sign the bill, saying it funds his priorities.
This spending bill has frustrated conservative lawmakers who are opposed to increased funds and having to vote without enough time to review the 2,232-page text. Any senator could force a government shutdown by refusing to grant the unanimous consent needed for quick action. Both GOP Senators John Kennedy of Louisiana and Rand Paul of Kentucky left open the possibility they may do so.
“It sucks,” Kennedy said of the spending measure, adding that he would decide soon whether to force a shutdown. “This is a Great-Dane-sized whiz down the leg of every taxpayer in this country. No thought whatsoever to adding over a trillion dollars in debt.”
This measure increases military spending by $80 billion and domestic programs by $63 billion.
“Vote yes for the safety and security of this country,” House Speaker Paul Ryan urged his colleagues on the floor, noting that the bill provides the biggest boost in military spending in 15 years.
When Ryan was asked about the rushed nature of this spending bill process, he said, “By and large we’ve done a phenomenal job” in following House rules.
Th proposal also includes $1.6 billion for border security, but that is only a small portion of the $25 billion that Trump wanted for his wall on the southern border.
The compromise part of the proposal has a provision creating incentives to raise reporting by federal agencies to the database for gun-buyer background checks. It includes $21 billion for infrastructure projects and an additional $4 billion to combat opioid addiction.
The top spending Democrat on the panel, New York’s Nita Lowey, said from the House floor that the measure “repudiates the abysmal Trump budget,” which sought $54 billion in cuts to domestic spending.
The spending measure also includes several provisions in response to mass shootings in America. There are not only incentives for reporting to a database for gun-buyer background checks, but also permits the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research the causes of gun violence. There has previously been 20 years of restrictions that prevented the agency from doing this before.
Finally included is $75 million this year to train teachers and school officials to respond to attacks, pay for metal detectors and other equipment, and create anonymous systems for reporting possible threats to schools. Between 2019 and 2028, $100 million a year would be provided.
What do you think is going to happen when this measure reaches the Senate?