McConnell’s Senate Approves $1.3 Trillion Spending Bill

Mitch McConnell

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Congress and a $1.3 trillion government spending bill (all times local):

12:45 a.m.

Congress has approved a $1.3 trillion measure bestowing hefty increases on military and domestic programs. It gives President Donald Trump just a nibble of the money he’s wanted to build his wall with Mexico.

The Senate gave final passage to the bipartisan legislation by 65-32 early Friday. The House approved it 256-167 hours earlier.

Trump is expected to sign the bill before Saturday. That would avert what would be a third government shutdown this election year, which would embarrass Republicans controlling the White House and Congress.

Trump initially promised Mexico would pay to construct his “big, beautiful wall.” That country has refused, and Trump has sought $25 billion for the project and other border security efforts.

This bill provides only $1.6 billion for a year’s work.

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12:21 a.m.

A $1.3 trillion spending bill has cleared a crucial hurdle in the Senate. That vote has cleared the way for final passage of the measure, which would provide big spending boosts to defense and domestic programs.

The House approved the legislation Thursday afternoon. After hours of delays, the Senate voted 67-30 to topple procedural hurdles to passage — seven votes more than the 60 that were needed.

President Donald Trump is expected to sign the legislation.

Had Congress not approved the bill by midnight Friday night, there would have been a government shutdown for the third time this election year. That would have been an embarrassment to Republicans, who control the White House and Congress.

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11:40 p.m.

A fresh obstacle — whether to rename a national forest in Idaho — has been tossed in front of the mammoth spending bill Congress is trying to finish.

Idaho Republican Sen. James Risch has objected to a provision in the 2,232-page bill that would rename a forest in his home state for Cecil Andrus. Andrus was a four-term Democratic governor who died last year.

Aides and lawmakers from both parties say Risch is delaying Senate approval of the $1.3 trillion spending bill unless the forest isn’t renamed.

In response, the Senate passed language halting the renaming effort. That provision would require passage by the House, which has left town for a recess.

Senate leaders are talking to Risch, hoping to resolve the issue and free the spending bill.

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1:17 p.m.

A budget bill passed by the House does not include money for work to develop and build a nuclear waste dump outside Las Vegas.

President Donald Trump has proposed reviving a long-stalled nuclear waste repository at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain, 100 miles from Las Vegas. The state’s Republican governor and Nevada lawmakers from both parties oppose the plan.

Republican Sen. Dean Heller, who faces a tough re-election this fall, pushed to exclude funding for Yucca from the massive spending bill, as did Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.

A spokesman for Cortez Masto says she was pleased that Congress “has recognized this boondoggle for what it is.” Spokesman Ryan King adds that Cortez Masto “will continue to fight like hell to make sure any efforts to revive Yucca Mountain in Congress are blocked.”

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1:01 p.m.

The House has easily approved a bipartisan $1.3 trillion measure handing huge spending increases to defense programs and domestic initiatives ranging from road-building to biomedical research.

Thursday’s vote was 256-167. That shipped the 2,232-page package to the Senate.

Passage there is assured. But some Republican senators upset that the measure spends too much could delay the bill. The question is whether it will be approved before midnight Friday night.

If it isn’t, that would force the year’s third government shutdown. That would likely be brief, but still embarrass Republicans controlling the White House and Congress.

The bill provides just $1.6 billion to start building pieces of President Donald Trump’s wall with Mexico and for other border security steps. But it doesn’t temporarily extend protections against deportation for young Dreamer immigrants.

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12:44 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump will sign a $1.3 trillion budget bill that boosts military spending, but does not include all the funding he sought for his promised border wall.

White House officials say the plan includes key administration priorities, particularly defense spending. They argue they could not get everything they want because Democratic votes are needed in the closely divided Senate.

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said the bill was not perfect, but “that’s not how the process works.”

He noted the deal includes at least some money for new construction along the border.

Trump sounded less than enthused by the bill Wednesday night. He tweeted: “Had to waste money on Dem giveaways in order to take care of military pay increase and new equipment.”

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10:55 a.m.

A sweeping $1.3 trillion budget bill that substantially boosts military and domestic spending but leaves behind young immigrant “Dreamers” has cleared a procedural hurdle.

The Republican-controlled House narrowly approved a measure allowing the bill to go forward as lawmakers struggle to meet a Friday night deadline to fund the government or face a federal shutdown.

The bill negotiated by congressional leaders deprives President Donald Trump some of his border wall money and takes only incremental steps to address gun violence.

Although some conservative Republicans balked at the size of the spending increases and the rush to pass the bill, the White House says the president backs the legislation.

The 2,232-page text was made public Wednesday night. Democrats say lawmakers had little time to read the bill before voting.

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12:14 a.m.

Congressional leaders hope to start voting as soon as Thursday on a sweeping $1.3 trillion budget bill that substantially boosts military and domestic spending.

A stopgap measure may be needed to ensure federal offices aren’t hit with a partial shutdown at midnight Friday when funding for the government expires.

The bill keeps the government operating but leaves behind young immigrant “Dreamers,” deprives President Donald Trump some of his border wall money and takes only incremental steps to address gun violence.

The White House says Trump backs the legislation, even as some conservative Republicans balk at the size of the spending increases and the rush to pass the bill.

Talks continued into Wednesday evening before the 2,232-page text was released. House Speaker Paul Ryan says no bill that big is perfect.

Source: www.breitbart.com

Chuck Schumer Declares Victory on Omnibus: ‘We’re Able to Accomplish More in the Minority’

Chuck Schumer sits with Nancy Pelosi, both smiling.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) declared victory on the omnibus spending bill Thursday, saying, “We’re able to accomplish more in the minority.”

Schumer said, “It’s a funny thing. In a certain sense, we’re able to accomplish more in the minority than we were when we had the presidency or even were in the majority.”

The Senate Minority Leader continued, “At the end of the day, as the minority party, we feel good about being able to succeed in so many ways. We don’t have the House, we don’t have the Senate, we don’t have the presidency, but we produced a darn good bill for the priorities we have believed in.”

Sen. Schumer also touted the inclusion of the Gateway bridge project in the omnibus, as well as increased funding for the National Institute of Health (NIH).

House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) lamented in an interview with Breitbart News Daily on Tuesday that the “Senate Democrats seem to be calling most of the shots.”

As Breitbart News reported, the omnibus spending bill contains language that explicitly bars funding for a southern border wall.

The omnibus also contains provisions that expand the H-2B visa-worker program, which would reduce market pressure on companies to offer American workers higher wages.

Republican leadership included provisions that will allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct gun research as well.

Additionally, the omnibus has the Fix NICS Act, which would allow unelected bureaucrats to remove Americans’ right to purchase firearms without due process.

The House Freedom Caucus came out against the omnibus on Wednesday night, calling the legislation an “insult to American taxpayers.”

The House conservatives sent a letter to the White House asking President Trump to reject the omnibus, calling the spending bill a rejection of everything conservatives promised the American people.

Republican leadership unveiled the legislation on Wednesday and gave House lawmakers less than 17 hours to vote on the bill.

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) said Wednesday that the omnibus spending bill “is a Great Dane-sized whiz down the leg of every taxpayer.”

President Donald Trump signed the $1.3 trillion, 2,232-page spending bill on Friday.

Source: www.breitbart.com