Late Thursday afternoon, the House voted to pass an incredible, $1.3 trillion "omnibus" spending bill, funding the government through next September.
The massive piece of legislation met with mostly Republican support, passing on a 256-167 mostly partisan vote even though Democrats and their pet projects were rewarded just as handsomely as Republicans in the bill. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) tried briefly to delay the measure with a filibuster, but was outvoted.
Congressional leaders only received the 2,232 page omnibus bill last night, leaving them barely 12 hours to comb through it with their staffs before they voted — and that, of course, means that most of them probably have no idea what they just signed into law. The Senate, which must pass the bill by Friday night in order to avoid a government shutdown, fares slightly better, with approximately 36 hours lead time before the big vote.
Plenty of the bill's authors got exactly what they wanted, though. New York's Rep. Peter King will jump-start a failed transit improvement project on the Eastern seaboard at a cost of $540 million. The bill also provides funding to improve the NICS — the national firearms background check communications system, though it does not provide for national concealed carry reciprocity in return, which gun-rights focused legislators had wanted.
The bill does give border security a big payday, but only begins to fund the $25 billion border wall that the president wants along the nation's southern border with a $1.2 billion grant to begin the construction process. It also provides for the president's opioid addiction treatment plan ($4 billion), provides $380 million to improve our election security, and boosts funding to disaster-ridden areas like Puerto Rico. It also refunds some of the infrastructure projects begun under the Obama Administration's TARP program to the tune of around $1.5 billion.
Overall, the bill expands defense funding by $160 billion and domestic welfare funding by $128 billion over the next two years. Infrastructure projects, both Trump- and Obama-endorsed, will get around $21 billion in additional funding.
The bill does not defund Planned Parenthood. The abortion provider will still receive its regular corporate welfare check from the government, as it does every year. It also does not eliminate the so-called "Johnson Amendment" that forces churches and other social organizations to take a neutral stance on political candidates as a condition of their tax-exempt status.
It also doesn't address DACA, despite a Democratic pledge not to let further budget negotiations happen without an immigration reform compromise.
The Senate will take up the bill beginning late Thursday night.