Biden signs $1.7 trillion bill to fund government operations

GOLD HILL, U.S. Virgin Islands – President Joe Biden on Thursday signed a $1.7 trillion spending bill that will keep the federal government afloat through the end of the federal budget year in September 2023 and provide Tens of billions of dollars in new aid to Ukraine’s fight against Russian troops.

Biden must sign the bill late Friday to avoid a partial government shutdown.

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed the bill on Christmas Eve by a 225-201 vote, largely along party lines. A day before the House vote, the Senate, also led by Democrats, passed the bill by a 68-29 vote, drawing more Republican support.

Biden has said that by proving that Republicans and Democrats can work together.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader in the House of Representatives, hopes to be the speaker when the new session of Congress opens on Jan. Too much is being spent flowing into the US, and too little is being done. America is from Mexico.

“This is a monster and one of the most disgraceful acts I’ve seen in this institution,” McCarthy said of the legislation.

McCarthy is appealing to staunch conservatives in the Republican caucus, who have largely blasted the bill for its size and scope. Republicans will hold a slim majority in the House on Jan. 3, and some conservative members have vowed not to vote for McCarthy to become speaker.

The funding bill includes a roughly 6 percent increase in spending on domestic initiatives to $772.5 billion. Spending on defense programs will increase about 10%, to $858 billion.

It passed hours before the federal agency’s financing was due to expire. Lawmakers have already approved two short-term spending measures to keep the government afloat and passed a third on Friday to fund the government until Dec. 30. Biden signed it to ensure the service will continue until Congress sends him the full-year measure, known as the omnibus bill.

The massive bill, more than 4,000 pages long, contains 12 appropriations bills, aid for Ukraine and relief for communities recovering from natural disasters. It also contains dozens of policy changes that lawmakers have worked to include in the final major bill considered by Congress that session.

Lawmakers provided about $45 billion for Ukraine and NATO allies, even exceeding Biden’s demands, an acknowledgment that future rounds of funding are not guaranteed when Republicans take control of the House of Representatives next week after Republican victories in the midterm elections.

While support for Ukraine aid has largely bipartisan support, some House Republicans oppose the spending, arguing the money is better spent on U.S. priorities.

McCarthy warned that Republicans would not write a “blank check” for Ukraine going forward.

The bill also includes about $40 billion in emergency spending, primarily to help communities across the United States recover from droughts, hurricanes and other natural disasters.

Biden, who signed the bill Thursday in the U.S. Virgin Islands, is spending time with his wife Jill and other family members on St. Croix. The White House said the Bidens were staying at the home of friends Bill and Connie Neville. Bill Neville owns US Viking, maker of ENPS, a news production software system sold by the Associated Press.

There are also many policy changes in the bill that are largely unrelated to spending, but lawmakers are working frantically behind the scenes to add them to the bill, the last piece of legislation passed this session of Congress. Otherwise, lawmakers who support the reforms will have to start from scratch next year in a politically divided Congress, with Republicans regaining a majority in the House of Representatives and Democrats retaining control of the Senate.

One of the most famous examples is the historic revision of federal election laws to prevent a future president or presidential candidate from trying to overturn the election.

The bipartisan sweeping overhaul of the Election Counting Act comes after then-President Donald Trump persuaded Republican lawmakers and then-Vice President Mike Pence to oppose proving the election on Jan. 6, 2021, Trump’s presidential election day. A direct response to Biden’s winning efforts – sparking an uprising at the Capitol.

Spending increases highlighted by Democrats include a $500 increase in the Pell Grant cap for low-income college students, a $100 million increase in state block funding for substance abuse prevention and treatment programs and a 22 percent increase in spending for veterans. Health care and $3.7 billion in emergency relief for farmers and ranchers hit by natural disasters.

The bill also provides about $15.3 billion for more than 7,200 projects lawmakers are pursuing for their states and territories. Under revised rules for funding community projects, also known as earmarks, lawmakers must post their requests online and certify that they have no financial interest in the projects. Still, many fiscal conservatives criticize earmarking for unnecessary spending.


Associated Press writer Kevin Frakin in Washington contributed to this report.

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