By CASEY HARPER
THE CENTER SQUARE
(The Center Square) – The U.S. Senate passed a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill Thursday aiming to avoid a government shutdown deadline of midnight Friday.
The bill’s passage comes after a chaotic week that included an address to Congress from the Ukrainian President, a rush of opposition from some Republicans, and looming winter storms that could leave travelers stranded around the Christmas holiday.
“We STILL don’t know the true cost of the $1.7T omnibus,” U.S. Rep. Ben Cline, R-Va., wrote on Twitter. “For all we know, the total price tag could exceed $2T. Democrats want a blank check to spend YOUR taxpayer dollars.”
The vote came in at 68-29 with nearly 20 Republican senators voting in favor of the legislation, which would fund the government through September. Now, the bill heads to the U.S. House, where Republicans have been vocally opposed but likely lack the votes to stop the legislation.
“Our hope would be that if it was finished this afternoon, it would take about five hours to get the bill,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday a little before the Senate vote. “We’d go to rules. We could pass it tonight. That would be our hope … We want people to be able to go home, and as you know, there are storms all across America, and hopefully that will be a motivation for expedited discussion there.”
Those Republicans opposed have been pushing for a temporary funding measure that would keep the federal government on schedule until the new Congress takes over in the new year.
“The $1.7 trillion omnibus would funnel BILLIONS of taxpayer dollars to woke pet projects from members like AOC & Hakeem Jeffries,” U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, wrote on Twitter, adding that there will be millions of “taxpayer dollars to LGBT groups peddling radical gender ideology.”
U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, rallied support for an amendment continuing Title 42, a public health authority that allows border agents to expedite expulsion of illegal immigrants in the name of preventing the spread of COVID. Sen. Lee said he had the votes but that Democratic Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called a recess and peeled away the votes he needed.
“The amendment saving Title 42 had the votes to pass, with all GOP plus [Joe] Manchin and [Kyrsten] Sinema,” he said. “Schumer then paused the vote clock and twisted arms until both flipped their votes [and] the amendment failed. Any Republicans previously supporting this awful omnibus should now oppose it.
“The omnibus is terrible on its own,” he added. “It’s intolerable with this development. No Republican should support it.”
U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., went viral for a Twitter thread pointing out “the most egregious provisions in the bill,” which includes a series of photos of the legislation’s text that even got a retweet from Billionaire and Twitter owner, Elon Musk.
Others joined in, laying out line after line of controversial spending items in the several thousand page spending package, which is 12 appropriation bills in one.
“On a more sinister note, here’s at least $575 million for ‘family planning’ in areas where population growth ‘threatens biodiversity,’” he wrote earlier this week. “Malthusianism is a disturbing, anti-human ideology that should have ZERO place in any federal program.”