Congress Releases $1.7 Trillion, 4,155-Page Omnibus Bill
Congressional appropriators dropped the $1.7 trillion, 4,155-page omnibus spending bill at 1:30 A.M. ET Tuesday, giving lawmakers days to read it before the government shuts down Friday.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has chalked up the higher increase in defense spending compared to domestic spending as a Republican victory, even though Democrats managed to pass their $700 billion Inflation Reduction Act, which boosted domestic expenditures on climate change and other leftist domestic priorities.
Among other priorities, the bill includes:
- $45 billion in military and economic aid for Ukraine’s conflict with Russia. This is billions more than the $37 billion Biden requested
- $5 billion in earmarks for 3,200 projects
- $47 billion for the National Institutes of Health
- $1 billion for Peurto Rico’s electrical grid
- $600 million to address water issues in Jackson, Mississippi
- The Senate version of the Electoral Count Reform Act, which would change the process for lawmakers to object to the certification of the presidential election
- Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-MO) push to have a ban on TikTok on government devices is included in the omnibus
Other priorities that did not make it into the bill include:
- Coronavirus aid
- Extension of the enhanced Child Tax Credit (CTC)
- The SAFE Banking Act, which would allow marijuana businesses to have more access to banking services
- A bill to narrow alleged sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine
House conservatives swiftly came out against the omnibus spending bill. Thirteen House Republicans wrote a letter to Senate Republicans, urging them to oppose the bill.SUBSCRIBE
The lawmakers wrote “…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.”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) wrote that not every senator will help congressional leadership “ram” the omnibus through the Senate.
Lee asked rhetorically, “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?”