Updated Dec 29, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden signs $1.7 trillion government funding bill

President Biden speaks to members of the press in the Oval Office on Thursday.

President Biden speaks to members of the press in the Oval Office. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Biden signed the nearly $1.7 trillion long-term, government funding bill on Thursday ahead of a looming deadline.

Why it matters: The legislation will fund the government through next September — preventing the new Congress from being thrust into yet another spending fight when Republicans take control of the House in January.

  • The bill's passage close to the holidays forced lawmakers with districts across the country to contend with a sprawling winter storm if they want to make it home for Christmas.

The big picture: The Senate passed the bill 68-29 last week. The House sent it to Biden's desk Friday on a 225-201 vote, with one member voting "present."

  • The process of getting to final passage was an arduous one, and Congress came close to being forced to kick spending negotiations into the new year — something Democrats and Republicans alike wanted to avoid.
  • Biden signed a separate short-term funding bill last week that punted the deadline for avoiding a government shutdown to Dec. 30.

Between the lines: Nine Republicans in the House voted for the bill, including Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.).

  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was the only Democrat to vote against it. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) voted present.

Of note: Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) said 226 members — more than half the House — were absent from the session and voted by proxy. It's a practice that will likely be eliminated when Republicans take over the House next year.

Key provisions:

  • Roughly $45 billion in aid to Ukraine's war effort and NATO allies.
  • A bipartisan deal to end a COVID-era Medicaid policy on April 1, 2023, phasing out the requirements that prevented states from dropping individuals from federally funded insurance.
  • Passage of the Electoral Count Act, which clarifies the vice president's role in certifying Electoral College votes in a presidential election. The bipartisan bill was drafted in an effort to help prevent another Jan. 6-style attack on democracy.
  • More than $38 billion in emergency disaster assistance for Americans in the West and Southeast affected by recent natural disasters — including hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding and wildfires.
  • $2.6 billion in funding for Jan. 6 legal efforts, including assistance "to further support prosecutions related to the January 6 attack on the Capitol and domestic terrorism cases." It also includes $11.3 billion for the FBI's efforts to curb extremist violence and domestic terrorism.
  • Tax provisions aimed at preventing fraudulent tax breaks arising from land conservation deals and legislation to boost retirement savings in tax-advantaged accounts. The additions of both provisions follow uncertainty over whether there would be any tax title in the government funding bill at all.
  • A 4.6% pay raise for military troops and a 22.4% increase in support for Veteran Administration medical care. It also includes roughly $55.7 billion to combat inflation and support critical services and housing assistance for veterans and their families, as well as $5 billion for the Cost of War Toxic Exposures Fund.
  • Banning TikTok on federal devices.
  • Directs U.S. Capitol Police to consider extending security for former House speakers for a year after they leave office. It also provides $2.5 million for a “residential security system program” for senators.
  • An additional $25 million for the National Labor Relations Board's budget — a top priority for unions that brings their funding to more than $299 million.
  • More funding for children's mental health and for substance abuse, as well as additional funds to target the opioid epidemic.
  • $576 million for the Environmental Protection Agency, bringing its funding up to $10.1 billion, and it boosts the National Park Service's funding by 6.4% to help the agency with an increase in visitation.
  • $8 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, a 30% increase in funding. The grant offers financial assistance to low-income families to afford child care.

What was excluded:

  • Energy permitting reforms, a key priority for Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).
  • An extension of the enhanced Child Tax Credit.
  • $9 billion to fight the COVID pandemic.
  • The SAFE Banking Act, which would've granted the cannabis industry increased access to financial services.
  • A bipartisan agreement on drug sentencing that would've tightened the sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional developments.

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