Senate approves $855 billion spending bill that funds most of the government

Senate approves $855 billion spending bill that funds most of the government

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U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Gage Skidmore/ Flickr)

WASHINGTON – The Senate Tuesday afternoon approved an $855 billion spending package that funds most of the government through Sep. 30, 2019.

The measure passed 93-7.

The legislation is expected to be the final “minibus” package Congress will consider this year.

It provides $674.4 billion for the Department of Defense. The bill also allocates $178.1 billion for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and related agencies.

The legislation includes a stopgap measure that funds the remainder of the government at existing levels through Dec. 7, 2018. The stopgap measure prevents a government shutdown when current funding expires at midnight on Oct. 1.

The House is expected to take up the measure next week.

Congress usually passes an omnibus to fund the 12 annual spending bills that fund the government. They did not do so this time because President Donald Trump said in March after signing a $3.1 trillion omnibus that he would never again sign a such a large appropriations bill.

Trump has threatened a government shutdown if Congress does not fund the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

However, GOP congressional leaders have downplayed the threat of a shutdown. They say they are confident they can delay the fight over wall funding until after the November midterm elections and that Trump ultimately will acquiesce.

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