House passes $1.2T omnibus spending bill
Washington — The Republican-led House on Thursday passed a sweeping $1.2 trillion spending bill that provides billions more dollars for the military while sparing medical research and popular community development programs from deep cuts sought by President Donald Trump.
The vote was 211-198 for the massive measure that wrapped the 12 annual spending bills into one in advance of the end of the budget year on Sept. 30. Even though the Senate still must act, the government will keep operating through Dec. 8, thanks to legislation Congress passed last week and sent to Trump.
House members spent the past two weeks debating the measure’s $500 billion for domestic agencies. GOP leaders then merged that domestic spending package with an earlier House measure that would give record budget increases to the Pentagon and provide a $1.6 billion down payment for Trump’s wall along the U.S.-Mexico border that he repeatedly has insisted Mexico would finance.
“It does everything from strengthening our national defense and veterans’ programs to cracking down on illegal immigration to protecting life to cutting abusive Washington agencies like the IRS and the EPA,” said the No. 2 House Republican, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California. Speaker Paul Ryan. R-Wis., praised a pay raise for the military, border security funding, and “defunding” Planned Parenthood as victories for Republicans and Trump.
At issue are the spending bills passed by Congress each year to fund day-to-day operations of federal agencies. Trump, following the lead of budget director Mick Mulvaney, a former tea party congressman, pushed for a sweeping increase for the Pentagon and commensurate cuts of more than $50 billion from domestic agencies and foreign aid.
House Republicans have responded by adding even more spending on defense, but have significantly scaled back Trump’s cuts to domestic programs like community development grants and research into rare diseases.
Trump has taken a low-profile on budget issues other than the wall, however, and his administration has done little to fight for his spending cuts since they were unveiled.
The House measure adds almost $9 billion to Trump’s funding request for medical research.
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