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US Senate Passes $1.7 Trillion Omnibus Package Including New Batch of Ukraine Aid

© AP Photo / Gemunu AmarasingheThe U.S. Capitol building is seen before sunrise on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, March. 21, 2022.
The U.S. Capitol building is seen before sunrise on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, March. 21, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.12.2022
The US House of Representatives is expected to take the newly Senate-passed legislation up for a vote as soon as later Thursday, allowing the measure to head to the US president's desk by the end of the week.
The US Senate approved a $1.7 trillion government funding package on Thursday that also includes yet another multibillion-dollar military aid for Ukraine.
The 4,155-page legislation cleared the upper chamber in a 68-29 vote.
The measure, which also marked the final Senate vote for the 117th Congress, now heads to the US House of Representative for passage.
Some House Republicans, including leader Kevin McCarthy, have expressed opposition to the omnibus. The lawmakers contend that Congress should instead pass another short-term continuing resolution to fund the government so that the new Congress, during which Republicans will hold the House, can draft a comprehensive budget.
The House Republicans standing in opposition to the bill have threatened to impede the legislative efforts of any member of Congress who votes for it when the party takes control of the lower chamber next year.
The omnibus authorizes approximately $1.7 trillion in spending for fiscal 2023, including $858 billion in defense funding, as well as $45 billion in Ukrainian military aid. The bill also approved $772 billion in nondefense discretionary spending.
Senators also included a measure put forth by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) that allows seized Russian funds to be transferred for use by Ukraine. Adopted by a voice vote, the amendment was initially intended to be included as part of the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.
Reforms to the Electoral Count Act in response to the January 2021 Capitol riot were also included, and clarifies that the US vice president does not have the power to overturn the results of a presidential election.
The passage has been hailed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as a victory for the GOP. “The world’s greatest military will get the funding increase that it needs, outpacing inflation. Meanwhile, non-defense, non-veterans spending will come in below the rate of inflation, for a real-dollar cut,” he said on the Senate floor.
US President Joe Biden must sign the bill by Friday in order to avoid a partial government shutdown.
In order to secure the legislation's passage and avoid a filibusters, Democrats were forced to axe efforts to expand the child tax credit, emergency coronavirus aid and a proposal intended to give Afghan refugees a pathway to permanent legal status in the US, among other measures.
Migrants who had crossed the Rio Grande river into the U.S. are under custody of National Guard members as they await the arrival of U.S. Border Patrol agents in Eagle Pass, Texas, Friday, May 20, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.12.2022
Title 42: How US Immigration Crisis Nearly Shut Down the Government and Left the Pentagon Penniless
Two policies also rejected by the upper chamber touched on Title 42 border expulsion policy, those of which were separately proposed by Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ).
The Biden administration has filed an appeal on Tuesday to the US Supreme Court, requesting it to deny a Republican bid to end the Title 42 policy that authorizes expulsions of migrants on the basis of their health status. Although the policy was due to expire on Wednesday, the Biden White House is requesting the high court to keep the policy in place until December 27 if there is a ruling before December 23.
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