Congress Unveils Sweeping ‘Omnibus’ Funding Bill With $1.7 Trillion Price Tag

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Lawmakers have at long last unveiled the legislative text of the huge $1.7 trillion “omnibus” government funding bill for all of fiscal year 2023, with apparent wins for both parties like boosting non-defense discretionary spending, while keeping restrictions on funding abortions.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) released the bill (pdf) late Monday, urging members of the House and Senate to take up the 4,155-page bill and “pass it without delay” as government funding is set to expire on Dec. 23 at midnight and a shutdown looms.

“The choice is clear. We can either do our jobs and fund the government, or we can abandon our responsibilities without a real path forward,” Leahy said in a statement. “Passing this bipartisan, bicameral, omnibus appropriations bill is undoubtedly in the interest of the American people.”

The full-year government funding bill, commonly known as an “omnibus” for its catch-all scope that funds multiple federal agencies, is first expected to be taken up by the Senate for possible passage by Thursday, then to the House, and later to President Joe Biden’s desk for a signature by Friday’s deadline.

Failure to pass the legislation could bring a partial government shutdown beginning Saturday and potentially lead to a months-long standoff after Republicans assume control of the House on Jan. 3, ending the Democrats’ monolithic grip on power in Washington.

The bill is the product of long-running negotiations between Democrats and Republicans in Congress, which ran into less routine sticking points like the location of the new FBI headquarters and more standard fare like the GOP pushing back on what it views as wasteful pork-barrel spending on programs unrelated to defense.

“This omnibus bill represents the last best chance for Democrats to push funding for their policy initiatives before Republicans take over control of the House—and it is already significantly scaled back from their ambitious earlier designs,” Gerard Filitti, Senior Counsel at The Lawfare Project, told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement.

By Tom Ozimek

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