The latest government spending bill will include Electoral Count Act, making the next coup attempt harder.
December 21, 2022

Priorities, priorities. Congressional negotiators released a $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill early Tuesday, and the bill’s spending for the next year is a clear show of priorities: $858 billion for the military over the next year, and $772 billion for nondefense spending … of which $119 billion is for veterans’ care. That counts as not-military, you see. The long-term costs imposed by their military service, which the government correctly covers, get shifted over to compete with every domestic priority as Republicans try to keep that number low. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell counts it as a major win for Republicans that defense spending is higher than everything else.

The bill includes $44.9 billion in aid for Ukraine and $40.6 billion in relief for disasters like the hurricanes that hit Florida and Puerto Rico.

It also includes the Electoral Count Act, which, in response to Donald Trump’s attempted coup, makes crystal clear that the vice president cannot refuse to certify an election and increases the number of lawmakers required to object to certifying a state’s electors.

The bill does not include some key things: pandemic aid, an expanded child tax credit, cannabis banking legislation, and a corporate tax cut allowing businesses to write off research expenses immediately.

The latest continuing resolution keeping the government funded expires on Friday, providing a hard deadline—though lawmakers’ desire to get home for Christmas may be almost as powerful in hurrying the process. A procedural vote is planned in the Senate on Tuesday, which will help reveal whether any Republicans plan to try to throw up roadblocks.

Sen. Mike Lee appears to be considering that, tweeting, “The trolls pushing this process on the American people should be ashamed of themselves, and should not assume that every senator will agree to facilitate their efforts to ram this through.”

The bill contains much, much more. Some of that includes:

  • Delaying more than $100 billion in cuts to Medicare and other programs that would otherwise have kicked in early next year.
  • The first funding increase for the National Labor Relations Board in over a decade.
  • Affordable housing funding.
  • Increased clean energy funding.
  • A ban on TikTok on government devices.
  • Compromise language on how the FBI will decide whether to locate its new headquarters in Maryland or Virginia. This was apparently a holdup between Democrats representing those states.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is urging Republicans to oppose the bill on the principle that a funding bill that should have been finalized in September 2022 should be kicked into 2023 so that House Republicans will be able to join in the economic hostage-taking. But Democrats are expected to have the votes to get it through the House, with progressives recognizing that this is likely the best possible bill at this point.

Republished with permission from Daily Kos.

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