Senate passes mammoth $1.2T spending package after brief partial government shutdown


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The Senate passed a controversial six-bill government funding package on Friday after a brief government shutdown. 

The text for the group of bills was only unveiled in the early hours of Thursday morning, angering several Republicans in the upper chamber. 

The appropriations measures were considered in the House on Friday morning, ultimately passing by a vote of 286–134, with a majority of Republicans, 112, voting against them. 

Senators voted to pass a package of funding bills that would complete the appropriations process for 2024 and avoid a government shutdown. (REUTERS/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades)

Prior to the package’s approval by the upper chamber, the outlook for avoiding a partial government shutdown looked bleak, as Republican senators claimed Democrats were unwilling to take up their requested amendment votes. 

It was only in the last hour that senators appeared to have reached an agreement, returning to the chamber floor and exchanging papers prior to beginning the voting process. 

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A $460 billion funding package that included six of the twelve appropriations bills passed in both chambers earlier this month, despite vocal Republican opposition to the amount being spent, what the money is being put toward, and what they described as breaches of procedure.

The two-pronged appropriations process was outlined in a continuing resolution (CR) last month, which designated March 8 as the deadline for the first half of spending bills and March 22 for the last half. The stopgap measure was the fourth of its kind since the initial appropriations deadline of Sept. 30, 2023. 

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Several Republican senators slammed the last-minute release of the bill text on Thursday, criticizing plans to vote on Friday and being given only a day to read through the 1,012-page package. 

Capitol cloud cover

The $1.2 trillion spending package passed both chambers of Congress on Friday.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, told Fox News Digital it was an “utterly absurd, insulting and lawless suggestion that that is an appropriate legislative process.” 

“This is a crazy way to run the country,” added Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla.

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With the Senate’s passage, the spending package now heads to President Biden’s desk to be signed. 

Sens. Mike Lee and Rick Scott

Lee and Scott criticized the procedure for passing the spending bills in such a short period of time.  (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

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After several stopgap bills to push spending bill deadlines, the government is set to be fully funded until the Sept. 30, 2024 deadline for fiscal year 2025 appropriations bills. 

It’s unclear whether Congress will be able to avoid the same funding disagreements it faced in the fiscal year 2024 spending negotiations, given the divide between parties will remain just as narrow. Some Republican lawmakers have noted that the drawn out appropriations process has already started interfering with discussions for next year’s spending.



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