OAN Roy Francis
UPDATED 4:PM PT – Thursday, December 22, 2022
A $1.7 trillion government funding bill was approved by the Senate on Thursday. 68 people voted in favor of the bill and 29 people opposed it.
The bill is 4,155 pages long and will provide $858 billion in defense funding, as well as $772.5 billion for non-defense programs. This is a 5% increase for non-defense spending and an 8% increase for defense programs.
The legislation allocates around $45 billion in assistance to Ukraine in their war effort. This will include funds for the Pentagon to replenish its stockpiles of weapons that were sent to Ukraine, along with other aid for NATO allies.
The measure provides about $40 billion in funding for states and tribal reservations to aid communities nationwide in recovering from natural disasters.
The 1887 Electoral Count Act will be overhauled as part of this measure. This overhaul will make the vice president’s role in certifying states’ electoral counts completely ceremonial, with no real power to reject any results.
$2.6 billion in the measure are directed towards the January 6th legal efforts, and $11.3 billion is going to the FBI and their efforts to curb “extreme violence” and domestic terrorism.
Included in the bill is also a 4.6% pay raise for military personnel, as well as a 22.4% increase in support for Veteran Administration medical care. $55.7 billion is being directed to combat inflation and support services for veterans and their families. This includes housing assistance.
The funding bill grants $2.5 million towards a “residential security system program” for senators and directs U.S. Capitol police to extend security for former House Speakers for a year after they leave office in certain situations. This is being implemented as Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is set to leave office.
$25 million is being directed towards the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which brings their funding to $299 million. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is also granted $576 million, increasing their funding to $10.1 billion.
The Child Care and Development Block Grant will receive $8 billion, which is a 30% increase in funding. It will be directed to offer financial assistance to low-income families for child care.
This measure will also ban TikTok on federal devices which has been a hot topic recently.
The bill was passed in order to avoid a government shutdown. It will now move to the House where the vote on its final passage is expected to take place as early as Thursday night.