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U.S. Senate Passes $1.5 Trillion Funding Bill with Ukraine Aid

March 11, 2022, 3:18 AM

The Senate passed a full year $1.5 trillion federal funding bill that wards off a possible government shutdown while also providing Ukraine with aid to respond to the Russian invasion of its territory.

A bipartisan sense of urgency to approve the $13.6 billion for humanitarian and security aid in response to Russia’s attack led to an overwhelming 68 to 31 vote on the legislation.

The measure, which passed the House Wednesday, now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature. For majority Democrats, completing the bill in an era of hyper-partisanship counts as a major achievement. The government has been running on autopilot using Trump-era program funding levels since the start of the fiscal year on Oct. 1 and now domestic agencies will get a 6.7% boost.

WATCH: A $1.5 trillion spending measure was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday that funds the government for the rest of the fiscal year and provides $13.6 billion to respond to the invasion of Ukraine. Bloomberg Government’s Jack Fitzpatrick has the details.
Source: Bloomberg

“This bipartisan funding package represents a robust and unapologetic investment in the American people: it will give our troops a raise, provide more money for schools and Head Start Programs and Pell Grants, reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, fund the President’s cancer moonshot, and open the floodgates for funding the Bipartisan Infrastructure law,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

With a Friday midnight deadline to prevent a government shutdown looming, the House also sent the Senate a stopgap bill to keep federal operations funded through March 15. That bill also passed, allowing the more than 2,700-page full-year spending measure to be proofread and printed without the risk of a shutdown.

Chuck Schumer
Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg

Read More: Ukraine Aid Package Passes House as Lawmakers Say More Needed

Missing from the legislation is $15.6 billion in emergency funding for the coronavirus pandemic, which was stripped out after some House Democrats objected to paying for it with cuts to state and local government aid. Schumer said that Democrats will look for ways to fund the Covid response, but cuts likely will have to be found elsewhere to get a standalone bill through the Senate, where Republican votes will be needed for passage.

Republicans hailed the increases for the defense spending in the bill in justifying their support. The annual spending for the Pentagon alone comes to $743.4 billion, $28.4 billion above the president’s request of $715 billion for the year.

“The road to peace runs through American power. We all know it’s true. So we have to budget accordingly,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor.

Mitch McConnell
Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg

Politically, the bill could provide incumbents from both parties a boost on the midterm campaign trail. For the first time since a ban went into effect in 2011, the bill contains billions in earmarked spending for lawmaker pet projects. Lawmakers already are promoting the money for projects in their communities.

Other highlights of the far-reaching bill include:

  • Biden’s infrastructure law would be fully funded after months of delay
  • Disease research funds of $1 billion for Biden’s Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health
  • The largest increases in a decade for Title 1 education programs and the maximum Pell Grant award
  • A 10% increase to Energy Department climate-related initiatives
  • Military pay raise of 2.7%
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention capacity kept at 34,000 beds, existing border wall funds kept
  • Provisions that revive and restructure the EB-5 visa which grants green cards to wealthy investors
  • A measure that helps loans based on the soon-to-be defunct Libor reference rate transition to a new alternative.
  • Reauthorization for the Violence Against Women Act
  • Clear powers for the Food and Drug Administration to regulate electronic cigarettes as tobacco products.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Erik Wasson in Washington at ewasson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net

Tony Czuczka

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.