Washington — Congressional negotiators on Monday unveiled the details of a $1.7 trillion government spending package that will fund federal agencies through September 2023, setting up a final legislative fight in the waning days of the congressional session.
At 4,155 pages, the legislation includes priorities for members of both parties and the White House, among them $5.4 billion for more than 3,200 projects pushed by Democrats, according to House Appropriations Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut.
Left out of the mammoth proposal, however, is President Biden’sfor an additional $10 billion in emergency aid to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and other infectious diseases.
While congressional leaders are working to push the bill through both chambers by Dec. 22, a deadline set by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, they’re facing a tight schedule and opposition from some House and Senate Republicans who object to the size of the plan and speed with which it’ll move through Congress.
Ten Republican senators need to vote in favor of the legislation in order for it to advance through the upper chamber.
Here’s a rundown of what’s in the $1.7 trillion long-term spending deal:
$45 billion for Ukraine
The $45 billion in emergency assistance to help Ukraine respond to Russia’s aggression is higher than the $37.7 billion the White House requested from Congress in November.
In addition to humanitarian and military aid, the provision includes nearly $13 billion in economic support for Ukraine and countries impacted by the ongoing war.
Nearly $40 billion in disaster relief
The natural disaster aid covers communities impacted by recent hurricanes, including Hurricanes Ian and Fiona, wildfires, floods and drought.
Included in the disaster relief is $1 billion to improve Puerto Rico’s electric grid and $600 million to respond to thein Jackson, Mississippi.
Reforms to the Electoral Count Act
The package includes a plan from Sens. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, and Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, to make changes to the Electoral Count Act.
Their bill, the Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act, is an answer to the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, which saw a mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters attempt to block the counting of state Electoral College votes and stop Congress from reaffirming Mr. Biden’s win.
The proposal clarifies that the vice president’s role during the joint session of Congress, when members of the House and Senate gather to tally the electoral votes, is “solely ministerial” and explicitly states the vice president has “no power to solely determine, accept, reject or otherwise adjudicate or resolve disputes over” the validity of electors or the votes of electors.
The bill also raises the requirement for objections to a state’s electoral votes from one member of the House and one senator to 20% of the members from each chamber, and prevents states from sending unlawful election results to Congress or delay sending lawful results.
A ban on TikTok on Executive Branch agency phones
Rolled into the omnibus spending plan is GOP Sen. Josh Hawley’s “No TikTok on Government Devices Act.” Therequires the social media app TikTok to be removed from devices used by federal agencies and military branches.
The provision specifically names TikTok, as well as any service developed or provided by ByteDance, the app’s Chinese-owned parent company.
More than a dozen states have recently banned the use of TikTok on state-government phones.
Enhanced security for members of Congress and Capitol grounds
Amid the rise in threats against lawmakers, and against the backdrop of the assault on Paul Pelosi, husband of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at their San Francisco home, provides $9.5 million to enhance the U.S. Capitol Police Department’s “investigative and protection ability, and $734.5 million for the department, an increase of $132 million.
The funding allows for the hiring of up to 137 sworn officers and 123 support or civilian personnel, which would bring the size of the force to 2,126 sworn officers and 567 civilians.
The spending deal also budget documents. The program will “identify threats and risks vulnerabilities on” senators’ residences.for a “residential security system program” developed by the Senate Sergeant at Arms. The program aims to help mitigate “increased risks to the physical security of senators’ residences” in Washington and their home states, according to
The omnibus package calls for enhanced member protection, with $6 million for general expenses to support U.S. Capitol Police recommendations to enhance member protection, including through a security program for congressional leadership, expanding services from the Dignitary Protection Division and expanding the Capitol Police’s field office presence.
An additional $2 million is provided for salaries for the Capitol Police to provide member security outside of Washington as warranted.
To further harden the Capitol complex as a result of recommendations made following the Jan. 6 assault, the legislation provides $403 million — a boost of $341 million — for Capitol Police buildings, grounds and security.
Guidance for new FBI headquarters location
With Maryland and Virginia lawmakers at odds over the location of a new FBI headquarters, a Senate Democratic aide said Majority Leader Chuck Schumer helped broker language in the long-term spending package that requires the head of the General Services Administration (GSA) to “conduct separate ad detailed consultations with individuals representing the sites from” Maryland and Virginia to “further consider perspectives related to mission requirements, sustainable siting and equity.”
After those consultations, the GSA chief may proceed with the site selection process, the bill states.
If approved by Congress, the legislation would allow the money appropriated to the Internal Revenue Service to be used to provide “passenger carrier transportation and protection” between the IRS commissioner’s house and the agency’s headquarters in Washington.
The package further provides $2.5 million for “the repair, alteration, and improvement” of the White House residence.
Under the plan, a federal building in San Francisco would also be renamed the “Speaker Nancy Pelosi Federal Building.” Pelosi, who has represented the area in Congress for more than three decades,in November that she would not seek another term as leader of House Democrats.