House agrees on defense spending, sends Senate bill to avert shutdown

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The legislation — which includes six funding bills — cleared the House in a 286-134 vote, hours before a slew of agencies and programs are set to run out of funding.


The Senate is expected to quickly take up the package, with hopes of getting it over the finish line before midnight, so lawmakers can avoid a lapse in funding and begin their two-week Easter recess. President Biden has said he will sign the bill.


The successful House vote puts a bookend on the fiscal 2024 appropriations process in the lower chamber, which dragged on for months with four short-term extensions, led to the first-ever toppling of a sitting Speaker and incited bitter battles between hard-line conservatives and GOP leadership.


The 1,012-page bill calls for $1.2 trillion in funding for the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Labor, Health and Human Services, and State, as well as general government, financial services and foreign operations. 


Defense spending sees a bump of more than 3 percent, in line with a deal struck last year between Biden and House GOP leadership to limit federal spending. 


The agreement would provide the dollars needed to back the 5.2 percent pay raise troops received in January. 


But the final agreement did not include a plan to increase pay for junior enlisted troops by more than 30 percent. 


Lawmakers have bemoaned having to vote on a sprawling funding package not long after it was rolled out in the dead of night the day before — a common practice in Washington. But members on both sides are already touting a list of wins for them and dings against the other side. 


House Republicans point out that the spending bill would slash $574 million from climate change-related programs and $50.5 million from diversity and inclusion efforts.


The GOP lawmakers have also touted investments on the border that they say allow for a greater focus on enforcement, including funding for 22,000 Border Patrol agents, boosts for border security technology and funding for 41,500 detention beds.


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