House and Senate Republicans are in sharp disagreement over the massive $1.7 trillion spending bill Congressional leaders unveiled on Tuesday.
House and Senate Republicans are in sharp disagreement over the massive $1.7 trillion spending bill Congressional leaders unveiled on Tuesday. Most Senate Republicans support the measure despite vehement opposition from House Republicans.
- The $1.7 trillion spending package would fund the government through 2023. The 4,155-page bill includes $772.5 billion for “discretionary” domestic spending programs (excluding Social Security, Medicare, and Medicare, which are “mandatory” programs).
- The so-called “omnibus” spending package also outlays $858 billion for defense, a nearly 10 percent increase over current funding levels. The omnibus must pass by midnight Friday to prevent a government shutdown over lack of funds.
- Lawmakers stuffed the massive spending bill with their pet projects and priorities as it will likely be the last major bill to pass the 117th Congress. The bill includes $45 billion in assistance for Ukraine and reforms to the Electoral Count Act prompted by the events of Jan. 6, 2021.
- House Republican leadership has come out strongly against the bill and is urging its members to vote against the package as it “continues the out-of-control spending binge in Washington” and would prevent the new GOP majority from getting to influence spending negotiations.
- House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy threatened Senate Republicans over their support for the measure, vowing the priorities of any senator who votes for it would be “dead on arrival” in the G.O.P. House.
- Senate Republicans dismissed McCarthy’s threat as a sign of “immaturity” and dismissed it as an “idle threat” from a man who can’t even secure the votes necessary to be elected Speaker.
- The Senate G.O.P. believes McCarthy is just posturing for the base as not having to deal with “fiscal brinksmanship” in the New Year would be an easier lift for the raucous House Republican Conference. As Sen. Mike Rounds told Axios, “[McCarthy] can’t say it, but we can: it’d be much better, and he’ll be much more effective, if we give him a clean slate.”
- The New York Times reported on the non-spending issue that held up the final draft of the omnibus spending bill: the new location for F.B.I. headquarters. Lawmakers from Virginia and Maryland squabbled over the selection criteria until Schumer brokered a compromise.
- As CNN pointed out, one group set to benefit from the spending bill is Maine lobstermen. The omnibus includes a provision putting a six-year pause on environmental regulations designed to protect whales that could cause a “complete shutdown” of the lobster fishing industry.
- NBC News covered the angry reaction from refugee advocates and some Afghanistan veterans after the spending bill left out a provision designed to resolve the legal status of the tens of thousands of Afghan refugees taken in during last year’s U.S. military withdrawal.
- Henry Olson, the conservative The Washington Post columnist, argued conservatives are right to be upset over the “terrible” spending bill, but should support it regardless. Olson reminded Republicans that politics is the art of the possible and, given the absence of any preferable alternative, should pass the bill as its defense spending hike is key to standing up to China.
- The Wall Street Journal editorial board slammed the spending package as “the ugliest omnibus ever” and the perfect capstone to “the most spendthrift [Congress] in history.” Despite the bill’s mammoth size and as much as $16 billion in earmarks, WSJ found a few bright spots: $858 billion for defense, and $45 billion for Ukraine.
- Breitbart covered McCarthy’s vow to prevent the Senate from governing via omnibus in the next Congress. In a Fox News appearance, McCarthy said, “When we take the majority, we won’t allow the Senate bills to come up unless they move through committee.”
© Dominic Moore, 2022