Biden signs $1.7 trillion government funding bill
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.
- 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.