Congress Releases Omnibus Bill Worth $1.7 Trillion
Congressional appropriators released the omnibus spending bill, which is 4,155 pages long and worth $1.7 trillion on Tuesday. It only gives lawmakers a few days to read through it before the government shuts down on Friday.
The bill appropriates funds to the government until September 2023 and would increase defense spending by $76 billion, making it $858 billion overall. In contrast, domestic spending is currently at $773 billion.
Even though Democrats passed their $700 billion Inflation Reduction Act, which increased domestic spending on climate change and other leftist domestic goals, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) hailed the larger rise in defense spending as a Republican success.
Apart from such priorities, the bill includes the following:
- $45 billion worth of military and economic aid for Ukraine amid its conflict with Russia
- $5 billion set aside for 3,200 projects
- $47 billion will go to the National Institutes of Health
- $1 billion allocated for Puerto Rico’s electrical grid
- $600 million allocated to address Jackson, Mississippi’s water issues
The Senate version of the Electoral Count Reform Act would alter the process for legislators to dispute the presidential election's certification.
The omnibus bill includes Sen. Josh Hawley's (R-MO) proposal to prohibit the use of TikTok on government equipment.
Other priorities that were not included in the bill include:
- COVID-19 aid
- Enhanced Child Tax Credit (CTC) extension
- The SAFE Banking Act
- A bill to address purported inequalities in sentencing between crack and powder cocaine
Conservatives in the House quickly opposed the omnibus funding plan. Thirteen House Republicans urged Senate Republicans to reject the plan in a letter.
The lawmakers said, “…we are obliged to inform you that if any omnibus passes in the remaining days of this Congress, we will oppose and whip opposition to any legislative priority of those senators who vote for this bill – including the… leader.”
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) stated that not every senator will assist congressional leadership in “ramming” the omnibus through the Senate.
He rhetorically asked: “This bill has been written in large measure by two retiring senators, one Republican and one Democrat. Why should we move heaven and earth trying to force their priorities on the very people they keep in the dark—all according to two senators’ contrived, manipulative timeline?”