Senate sends $1.4 trillion spending package to Trump

Greg Nash

The Senate on Thursday passed a $1.4 trillion spending package to fund the government through the rest of the fiscal year, averting a second government shutdown in 2019.

Senators broke the package into two chunks, passing the first measure in a 71-23 vote before an 81-11 vote on the second bill that included funding for the Pentagon.

The two bills now head to President Trump’s desk, where White House officials have indicated he would sign it before the end of the day Friday, when current funding expires.

The Senate vote caps months of negotiating that blew past the beginning of the 2020 fiscal year on Oct. Congressional leaders said this week that the alternative to a massive spending deal would be another stopgap continuing resolution (CR) — which would extend fiscal 2019 funding levels.

“A lot of hard work brought this appropriations process back from the brink,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). “This legislation touches all 50 states. This is why full-year funding bills are better than chronic CRs.”

The 12 appropriations bills were broken into two packages because of Trump’s threat to not sign another omnibus, when all the bills are rolled into one piece of legislation.

The House on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed the pair of bills, with the first passing on a 297-120 vote and the second passing 280-138.

The eight-bill package passed earlier Thursday by the Senate will eliminate the 2010 Affordable Care Act’s “Cadillac tax,” as well as an annual fee on health insurance providers and the medical device tax.

And in a major victory for Democrats, the package will also provide $25 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health for gun violence research.

The second part of the package includes funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS); Department of Defense, Commerce, Science and Justice; and Financial Services and General Government.

The DHS bill includes $1.375 billion for physical barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border, the same amount that was included in the fiscal 2019 bill. It also leaves the number of detention beds for Immigration and Customs Enforcement flat; in a win for the White House, the measure imposes no restrictions on Trump’s use of emergency powers to reprogram defense funds toward his border wall.

The wall has become a perennial sticking point in government funding negotiations during Trump’s presidency. A protracted fight led to a record 35-day partial shutdown that started in December 2018 and ended with Trump declaring a national emergency to win more money.

Fiscal conservatives railed against the massive spending package before its passage.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) blasted negotiators for pretending that they weren’t basically passing an omnibus.

“Leaders and appropriators have cleverly put the negotiated spending agreement into two bills so that we can all pretend that it’s better than just one,” he said. “Even though they were negotiated at the same time, released to the public at the same time and will be voted on within only minutes of each other.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said in a video that the spending deal was a “pile of trash,” while Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) compared it to the first time he tried “supreme pizza.”

“There were some things that I really, really didn’t like in that bite,” Lankford said. “There are some things in these bills coming up … that I just cannot support.”

Tags Chris Murphy CR Donald Trump government funding Government shutdown James Lankford Mike Lee Mitch McConnell omnibus Richard Shelby Shutdown spending bill Ted Cruz
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