Senate Passes $1.7T Omnibus Spending Bill

On Thursday, the US Senate passed the $1.7T Omnibus spending bill by a bipartisan vote of 68-29 to avoid a government shutdown ahead of the holidays. The bill must next pass the House.

Senate Passes $1.7T Omnibus Spending Bill
Image credit: Chad Stembridge / Unsplash

Facts

  • On Thursday, the US Senate passed the $1.7T Omnibus spending bill by a bipartisan vote of 68-29 to avoid a government shutdown ahead of the holidays. The bill must next pass the House.
  • Passage of the bill had hit an impasse Wednesday, when Republicans attempted to insert language that would extend the enforcement of Title 42 immigration policy, a Trump-era rule that allows for immigrants to be removed from the US for concerns around COVID. Progressive Democrats hope to end the rule.
  • Democrats managed to get the bill back on track using a “side by side” amendment agreement, which allowed moderate Democrats who support Title 42 to vote to keep it while making sure it wouldn’t be in the Omnibus.
  • The Omnibus would provide about $773B for domestic programs, and more than $850B for the military, while covering the government’s expenses through the end of the 2023 fiscal year in September.
  • The bill also includes changes to the 1887 Electoral Count Act, and revisions to the US retirement system, as well as provisions for tightening a ban on the social media app TikTok on government devices.

Sources: Washington Post, FOX News, Rollcall, and National Review.

Narratives

  • Republican narrative, as provided by Red State. While increased funding for the military and checks on wasteful domestic spending ought to be applauded, the GOP should not have supported the passage of this bloated bill that was rammed through a lame-duck Democratic session. While it wouldn't be pretty, a government shutdown would be preferable if it means that the incoming Republican-controlled House can save Americans from Biden's unchecked wastefulness.
  • Democratic narrative, as provided by NBC. The passing of this legislation would be a big win for democracy, as the bipartisan reform of the Electoral Count Act would stop Trump and other reckless leaders from attempting to undermine the Constitution, making the nation safer from tyranny in the process. Democrats should celebrate securing funding for US allies overseas, government programs for everyday Americans, and, most importantly, passing a budget before obstructionist Republicans take control of the House.
  • Cynical narrative, as provided by Reason. In a skillful piece of political theater, both Democrats and Republicans get to declare victory for an enormous, inflationary spending bill. Taxpayers will have to pick up the tab after 4,000 pages of spending increases are rammed through both houses. These mountains of cash are being shoveled into bloated government agencies with reckless abandon, as irrelevant policy measures are snuck into a piece of legislation no lawmaker will actually read.