The Spending Deal: $1.3 Trillion, 2,232 Pages, One Messy Process

The Spending Deal: $1.3 Trillion, 2,232 Pages, One Messy Process

Sen. Rand Paul

One vote down, one to go. The House on Thursday easily passed a bipartisan $1.3 trillion spending bill, setting the stage for a Senate vote that would avoid a government shutdown after midnight on Friday and massively boost spending on the military and a wide range of domestic programs.

The House approved the 2,232-page spending package by a margin of 256-167, even though the bill had been unveiled less than 17 hours earlier, giving lawmakers scant time to read it. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tweeted Thursday morning that it took more than two hours for him to print the bill. Ninety House Republicans voted against the bill, including many conservatives who complained about what they saw as a massive deficit-increasing price tag and a lack of transparency in the legislative process.

Other experts also decried the process. “Disclosure of long bills a short time before a vote is fake transparency,” Martin Sullivan, chief economist at Tax Analysts, tweeted. “One outcome of this is that lobbyists and contributors still have access while general public is effectively shut out.”

Still, party leaders celebrated what they described as victories in the legislation, with House Speaker Paul Ryan emphasizing the military funding increase and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer celebrating what he described as the end of “the era of austerity” and “one of the most significant investments in the middle class in recent history.”

The Senate is expected to approve the bill, and the White House says President Trump will sign it even though he opposes some elements. But a brief federal shutdown is still possible, or another short-term extension of federal funding might be needed to keep the government running, if any senator — like, say, Rand Paul — decides to block speedy consideration of the bill.

The bill includes $695 billion for defense and $591 billion for non-defense programs (including $78 billion in off-budget Overseas Contingency Operations funding). It raises 2018 spending above previous budget caps by $80 billion for defense and by $63 billion on domestic programs.

You can read more about what is and isn’t in the bill here, here or here. And The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe has an interesting Twitter thread here looking at some of the standout items in the spending bill, from arts funding to protections against Asian carp.