Senate Passes $1.5 Trillion Spending Bill to Fund Government

The Senate voted Thursday evening to pass a $1.5 trillion spending bill to fund the government and provide nearly $14 billion in emergency aid to Ukraine, sending the must-pass measure to President Joe Biden’s desk before a midnight deadline Friday.

In a 68-31 bipartisan vote that cleared the 60-vote threshold, the Senate approved a 12-bill appropriations package, also known as an omnibus, that funds the government for the rest of the fiscal year until Sept. 30.

The vote came a day after the House approved the sweeping bill to avert a shutdown.

Before voting on the spending bill, Senators voted on three GOP amendments that included defunding federal vaccine mandates and eliminating earmarks, which were revived in the omnibus after a decade-long ban. All three amendments failed.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he was “deeply disappointed” the $15.6 billion allocated to combat the pandemic and prepare for possible new variants was stripped from the House bill after Democrats representing a number of states voiced frustrations that the new relief would be partially offset by unused coronavirus money allocated for their areas.

Still, Schumer praised the omnibus as the “strongest, boldest and most significant government funding package we’ve seen in a very long time.”

“This bipartisan funding package is a significant and far-reaching win for the American people. And I’m glad the Senate moved as quickly today as I hoped we would,” Schumer said before the vote. “To my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, I say, ‘Bravo, a job well done.’”

In addition to the $13.6 billion in aid to Ukraine, the bill also reauthorizes the Violence Against Women Act. The law, which was a top priority for Biden when he served in the Senate, lapsed in 2019 and will now be renewed for another five years. Other notable provisions of the omnibus include a $400 increase in the maximum Pell Grant award, election security grants and the return of earmarks, or “member-directed spending.”


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