Senate passes $1.4T spending bill needed to avert shutdown

U.S. Senate. Photo: www.senate.gov

Dec. 20 (UPI) — The Senate on Thursday passed a $1.4 trillion spending deal, sending it to President Donald Trump’s desk one day before the deadline to fund the federal government.

The chamber voted 71-23 to pass the first package of funding of about $534.4 billion. The Senate passed the second package by a vote of 81-11.

The House passed the same legislation Tuesday.

The White House said President Donald Trump plans to sign the spending deal.

The first measure included eight appropriations bills to provide funding to Agriculture, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Energy, Interior, Transportation Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs, and the Environmental Protection Agency. The second had four bills to fund Defense, Homeland Security, and Commerce-Justice-Science and Financial Services.

The $1.4 trillion set of packages includes $7.6 billion in funding for the 2020 Census, a $208 million increase in funding for the EPA, a $22 billion increase in funding for the Department of Defense and a 3.1 percent pay raise for civilian federal employees.

An additional $25 million would be provided for research into gun violence — and funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, which was at the center of the record 35-day shutdown last year, would remain at its previous total of $1.38 billion.

Also included are provisions to raise the national age for tobacco sales to 21, reauthorize the Export-Import Bank of the United States and permanently repeal three Affordable Care Act taxes.

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