US House passes $1.5tn omnibus spending bill

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Washington– The US House of Representatives has passed a $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill for the fiscal year 2022 to fund the federal government through the end of September.

The bill includes $730 billion in non-defence funding, an increase of $46 billion over fiscal year 2021, and $782 billion in defence funding, an increase of $42 billion over the previous fiscal year, according to the House Appropriations Committee, which oversees federal discretionary spending.

The bill also provides $13.6 billion in supplemental funding to boost humanitarian, security and economic assistance related to the Ukraine crisis, reports Xinhua news agency.

To pass the House, the bill was split into two parts: the defence portion which passed in a 361-69 vote, and the non-defence portion which passed in a 260-171 vote.

“With passage of this government funding legislation, we are delivering historic investments that will help lower the cost of living for working families, create American jobs, and support our nation’s most vulnerable,” House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro said in a statement.

The bill now goes to the Senate.

The House also passed a stopgap measure by voice vote to extend federal government funding until March 15 to give the Senate enough time to pass the omnibus spending bill and avoid a government shutdown.

The current government funding expires on Friday.

Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said the current omnibus bill would increase spending by roughly $500 billion above the Congressional Budget Office’s most recent baseline over the next decade.

“This increase would allow spending to roughly keep pace with inflation, but in doing so the bill will actually exacerbate inflationary pressures.

“With the debt approaching record levels as a share of the economy, inflation at a 40-year high…Congress should look to scale back this bill and determine where savings can be found,” she said, adding that it’s time to restore reasonable and responsible discretionary spending caps to ensure future spending levels remain under control.(IANS)


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