President Joe Biden signed the $1.7 trillion spending package into law on Thursday after a bipartisan group of senior lawmakers hustled the 4,155-page bill through Congress just days after introducing it.
Biden signed the bill while on vacation in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the omnibus was flown to the Caribbean island for the president’s signature.
The omnibus bill funds the government for the rest of the fiscal year, pushing back the possibility of a government shutdown until at least October. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) endorsed the bill along with Democratic leaders in Congress to push the massive spending package through ahead of Christmas.
The Senate passed the omnibus on December 22 in a 68-29 vote, with 18 Republicans voting alongside Democrats in favor of the package. The House passed the bill 225-201 the next day as nine Republicans joined Democrats to move the measure through.
Conservative critics of the behemoth spending package said that McConnell should block the legislation and fund the government through stopgap spending bills until a new Congress with a GOP-controlled House is seated next month.
The Republican senators who voted to pass the bill include Roy Blunt of Missouri, John Boozman of Arkansas, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine, John Cornyn of Texas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mitt Romney of Utah, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Richard Shelby of Alabama, John Thune of South Dakota, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, and Todd Young of Indiana.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), a leading contender to be the next House speaker, threatened GOP senators on Tuesday over the spending package. McCarthy said that if he becomes speaker, he would kill the legislative priorities of any Senate Republican who supported the bill.
“[W]hen I’m Speaker, their bills will be dead on arrival in the House if this nearly $2T monstrosity is allowed to move forward over our objections and the will of the American people,” McCarthy tweeted.
Agreed. Except no need to whip—when I’m Speaker, their bills will be dead on arrival in the House if this nearly $2T monstrosity is allowed to move forward over our objections and the will of the American people. https://t.co/WCC477R4IM
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) December 20, 2022
GOP Sen. Mike Lee of Utah was one of the loudest critics in the upper chamber. While the spending package was in the Senate, he tried and failed to get an amendment tacked onto the bill aimed at reinstating Title 42 authority to border agents at the U.S. southern border.
“This bill before us is legislative barbarism. This is an act of extortion being leveraged on the United States Senate right before Christmas,” Lee said during a speech on the Senate floor. “This bill, in all 4,155 pages of its glory — or infamy — was negotiated in secret by four or five members of Congress.”
“They wrote it in secret with the design of making an artificial emergency, threatening a shutdown right before Christmas,” he continued.
McConnell worked with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to get the legislation through the Senate. McConnell backed the omnibus as a necessary investment in the U.S. military. “The bipartisan government funding bill before this body is imperfect but strong. It will make huge new investments in our Armed Forces while cutting non-defense, non-veterans baseline spending in real dollars,” he said in a statement.
The bill allocates $858 billion to military spending, $45 billion more than Biden requested. It has another $772.5 billion in non-defense discretionary spending.
The $1.7 trillion bill is loaded with earmarks, carveouts, and favors for numerous lawmakers. The bill also contains provisions such as $410 million in funding for border security for the countries of Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, and Oman. That provision was pointed out by GOP Rep. Dan Bishop of North Carolina as an example of questionable spending.
The bill also contains $1.2 million for “LGBTQIA+ Pride Centers,” $477,000 for the Equity Institute in Rhode Island “to indoctrinate teachers with ‘antiracism virtual labs,’” and $3 million for the American LGBTQ+ Museum, according to The Heritage Foundation.