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 December 15, 2022

Democrats bring forward massive spending bill to keep government funded

In the face of a government shutdown, Democrats expressed hope that Congress is close to a solution, Breitbart reported. Congress must pass either a continuing resolution or an omnibus spending package by Friday to prevent a shutdown. 

Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) "feels that sufficient progress in negotiations took place over the weekend to delay the introduction of the omnibus appropriations bill for the time being," the Senate Appropriations Committee chair said. "Bipartisan and bicameral negotiations continue."

Democrats' proposed omnibus legislation amounts to a hefty $1.7 trillion spending bill over thousands of pages. Experts agree that legislation of that length will likely mean the passage of a shorter continuing resolution first to give lawmakers time to read the bill.

Still, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that both parties are motivated to get the short-term funding passed but that a larger bill is ultimately necessary. "The benefits of an omnibus are as many as there are citizens in America," Schumer said, according to Fox News.

Republicans are reluctant to sign on to the omnibus bill because it's heavy on pork and light on what they believe are necessities. One of the main sticking points involves military spending.

While Republicans and Democrats are both on board with $858 billion in defense, House Freedom Caucus conservatives are pushing back against even more aid for Ukraine. Biden is looking to spend another $38 billion on the conflict that's turning into a money pit.

A Republican initiative earlier this year led by 11 GOP Senators and 57 in the House sought to push for greater accountability when it came to Ukrainian aid. "Americans deserve to know where all of that money went," Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) had said. "It's time for a thorough audit."

However, Democrats also want another $885 billion in domestic spending. GOP lawmakers have argued that initiatives like the Inflation Reduction Act already covered their priorities and don't belong in the fiscal-year budget.

The previously-passed $739 billion legislation included spending on the left's pet causes like climate change. "Democrats want to play games to increase the amount of non-defense discretionary spending," House Whip John Thune (R-SD) said.

In order to get passed and prevent a shutdown, a Senate spending bill needs 60 votes requiring bipartisan agreement. Still, how that gets done is a strategic decision on both sides.

Democrats are motivated to get their complete cash grab before the GOP has more political leverage after it takes control of the House of Representatives in January. Democrats claim a year-long funding bill will allow for more money to defend against adversaries like China and Russia.

"This isn't an easy process, but it's important, nonetheless," Schumer claimed last week. "For the well-being of our troops, for the preservation of our national security, for the tens of millions of Americans who look to the federal government for a wide range of basic services, Democrats and Republicans must work together to fully fund the federal government."

However, Republicans see an opportunity to force President Joe Biden and the Democrats to yield to GOP priorities once they're in the majority in the House. "A deal that vanquished poison pills and went to January would enhance the leverage of Republicans to dictate policy terms," Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).

The media often treat the idea of a government shutdown as a dire emergency. However, the urgency seldom matches the number of concessions that inevitably make their way into these bills, including by Republicans.

Written By:
Christine Favocci

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