Senate approves $850B multi-department spending bill

Photo courtesy of the Maine Legislature

Aug. 24 (UPI) — The Senate approved a $850 billion spending package Thursday to provide funding for several government departments through the end of September.

Senators approved the “minibus” package, providing funding for the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Education by a vote of 85-7.

“I am proud of what these bills contain and how the Senate has crafted them. I want to particularly thank Chairman [Richard] Shelby and Senator [Patrick] Leahy,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said before the vote.

The $854 billion included in the bill passed Thursday accounts for about 60 percent of the 2019 appropriations bills and to date the Senate has passed nine of the 12 appropriations bills needed to fund the government past Sept. 30.

In efforts to ensure the bill passed, Senators rejected an amendment from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to cut funding to Planned Parenthood and an effort by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., to prohibit the Department of Education from using funds in the bill to arm teachers.

The Senate and House will need to merge their bills before they can ultimately be passed on to President Donald Trump for approval.

Congress must past legislation funding the government by Sept. 30 to prevent another government shutdown.

Late last month Trump said he would be willing to allow the government to shut down for the third time during his presidency in order to secure funding for a border wall between the United States and Mexico and changes to U.S. immigration laws.

“I would be willing to ‘shut down’ government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall!” Trump wrote on Twitter in July. “Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc. and finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT! We need great people coming into our Country!”


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