Senate approves $1T omnibus
© Greg Nash

The Senate approved the $1 trillion omnibus spending bill Thursday, sending it to the White House for President Obama's signature and sparing the government from another government shutdown.

Senators voted 72-26 in favor of the bill, and all "no" votes came from Senate Republicans, including GOP Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellJim Carrey on potentially losing fans over his anti-Trump Twitter art: 'Lose them' Senate barrels toward showdown over Trump's court picks Graham urges GOP leadership to bring vote on criminal justice reform MORE and Minority Whip John CornynJohn CornynSenate barrels toward showdown over Trump's court picks Dem gains put Sunbelt in play for 2020 Trump’s backing may not be enough on criminal justice reform MORE (Texas). That followed a 72-26 vote to end debate, which needed 60 votes.

ADVERTISEMENT

With the Senate's passage, Obama has until the end of Saturday to sign it into law — Saturday is when federal funding runs out.

A day earlier, the House passed the omnibus bill 359-67, with 64 "no" votes coming from Republicans who argued that it spent too much and complaining that Congress had just a few days to assess the 1,500-page bill.

On Thursday, Sen. Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Worries grow about political violence as midterms approach President Trump’s war on federal waste American patients face too many hurdles in regard to health-care access MORE (R-Okla.) was one of the few vocal opponents of the bill.

Among other things, he argued that it included nearly $68 billion of Pentagon appropriations that were unrelated to national security.

“There is no question this bill will pass today ... [but] this hole is getting deeper, deeper and deeper,” Coburn said. “We're wasting a ton of precious dollars that could be used to save somebody's life.”

Most senators spent Thursday afternoon praising the level of cooperation that allowed both parties in both chambers of Congress to agree to the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidDems wonder if Sherrod Brown could be their magic man Nevada New Members 2019 Meet the lawyer Democrats call when it's recount time MORE (D-Nev.) praised the work of Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiAthletic directors honor best former student-athletes on Capitol Hill Dems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee Robert Mueller's forgotten surveillance crime spree MORE (D-Md.), and said she has “done something that no one else could do.”

“This bill finally increases investments in the middle class,” Reid said. “Is it perfect? Of course not, but there are so many good things to say about this bill.”

Mikulski said after the vote that it was one of her top five legislative achievements over a long career and said it had the potential to diffuse some partisanship in the Senate. 

"I feel very relieved of course and happy that it passed with a strong vote, a bipartisan vote," she said. "The thing that we established was a tone, that we could do it in a way that everybody had their say especially in the committee...Our predecessors didn't allow an open amendment process and members felt stifled."

The chairwoman said that in the coming year her committee would pass all 12 individual appropriations bills for the first time in years.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the top Republican on the Appropriations Committee, said the bill is a “pretty good appropriation considering where we are.” Both he and Mikulski said they hope getting spending for fiscal 2014 out of the way will let Congress get back to regular order as it takes up 2015 spending.

The bill makes compromises in numerous areas — it reduces an ObamaCare fund by $1 billion and provides less funding than some wanted on Dodd-Frank financial reform regulation, but it also includes a 1 percent pay hike for federal workers.

More broadly, the bill is the first time since 2012 that Congress has passed a detailed funding plan for the government. It also mitigates the impact of the sequester, which required discretionary cuts that both Republicans and Democrats alike were under pressure to restore.

The Senate was on track to pass the bill as late as Saturday, but was able to speed up the timetable with the agreement of both parties.

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzDem gains put Sunbelt in play for 2020 Reelection campaign starts now, like it or not Rise of big cities push Texas to swing-state territory — maybe by 2020 MORE (R-Texas), who famously filibustered a short-term spending bill last year over ObamaCare, was on the floor shortly before the voting started. He asked unanimous consent to include two amendments to defund ObamaCare, but made no move to delay consideration of the bill.

Mikulski raised objections each time, which prompted Cruz to say there is no excuse for Congress not to dismantle the healthcare law given its effect on insurance premiums and job creation. “The essence of irresponsibility is seeing a harm and seeing the facts, and refusing to act,” he said.

Cruz, Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulTrump’s relationship with Saudi crown prince under pressure Rand Paul: 'Evidence is overwhelming' that Saudi crown prince was involved in Khashoggi murder Sunday shows preview: New members preview agendas after Democratic House takeover MORE (R-Ky.) and Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainDem gains put Sunbelt in play for 2020 Trump set to have close ally Graham in powerful chairmanship Cindy McCain takes aim at Trump: We need a strong leader, 'not a negative Nancy' MORE (R-Ariz.), who have bickered over policy at times, all voted against the omnibus.