House clears $1.7 trillion spending package, avoiding shutdown

The vote was narrowly tracked, after more than half of the House submitted the pandemic-era letter that allows a colleague to vote on their behalf.

The spending package is widely seen as the last bill guaranteed to keep government funding going, as Republicans prepare to take control of the House on Jan. 3 and leverage their newfound majority to force the administration Biden and Democrats to agree to deep spending cuts that liberals have vowed to oppose. It served as a swan song for lawmakers retiring after decades in Congress — including Senators Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, and Republican Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, who head the House Committee on appropriations – and champions of the spending process. who stray from leadership, like Ms. Pelosi and Rep. Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the majority leader.

The vote tally revealed the stark contrast between House and Senate Republicans and their opposing approaches to government spending, foreshadowing potentially bitter political battles in the new year. More than a third of Republicans in the Senate voted in favor of the bill, including Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader.

“I have concerns about the size and scope of the package,” said Rep. Kay Granger of Texas, who is poised to remain the top Republican on the appropriations committee.

“I’m disappointed that I can’t support this bill,” she added, citing the increase in programs unrelated to military spending.

Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the minority leader trying to lock in the elusive votes needed to be Speaker of the House on a narrow Republican majority, gave a barbed speech about 25 minutes in opposition to the sprawling package. He directly criticized the retired lawmakers who crafted the measure, pilloried the proxy voting system that lawmakers from both parties used to avoid voting in person, and lamented the opacity of the painstaking process that led to the release of the extensive package this week.

“This monstrosity is one of the most heinous acts I have ever seen in this body,” Mr McCarthy said, reviewing what he called the worst parts of the legislation. That list included increased spending on national programs, some of the projects requested by Democrats like Mr. Leahy and Ms. DeLauro, and what he condemned as “wakeful handouts.”

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