Battle over omnibus spending continues as Congress faces shutdown Friday


Lawmakers have until midnight Friday to pass legislation to fund the government or face a shutdown as a potential vote on the $1.7 trillion, 4,155-page omnibus bill could happen later Wednesday.

Some Republicans, though, are mounting a response to try to kill the legislation.

In its place, they are pushing to have a temporary funding measure that keeps the government running until the next Congress takes over in early 2023. They argue that Congress reflects the will of the American people as most recently expressed in the last elections.

Punchbowl News reported that U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., expected House Speaker in the next Congress, is bucking the deal reached by the Senate that had the approval of Republican Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Facing an earlier deadline, lawmakers voted last week to extend federal funding until this Friday, giving more time to hash out the details of the mammoth spending package, which is a dozen appropriations bills wrapped into one.

Opposition to the bill has been spearheaded in part by U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., who went viral for his Twitter thread pointing out “the most egregious provisions in the bill” which includes a series of photos of the legislation’s text.

In particular, he pointed to a lack of sufficient border funding to address the surge of illegal immigrants there while allocating “$410 million towards border security for Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, and Oman.”

“America Last in action,” he said. “And, of course, $1,438,000,000 for membership in global multilateral organizations, including the UN. The word ‘salmon"’ appears 48 times in the bill. $65 million for salmon? Seems fishy.”

Bishop continued to list off controversial spending provisions including “$65 million in two programs for Senator Leahy, and a federal building named for Nancy Pelosi” as well as “$3.6 million for the ‘Michelle Obama Trail,’” adding that “Swamp gonna Swamp.”

“On a more sinister note, here's at least $575 million for "family planning" in areas where population growth ‘threatens biodiversity,’” he wrote. “Malthusianism is a disturbing, anti-human ideology that should have ZERO place in any federal program.

Another key point of contention in the funding bill has been $45 billion allocated for economic and military aid for Ukraine. Some Republicans have balked at Ukraine funding, growing increasingly war weary.

McConnell, though, threw his support behind the omnibus, including the Ukraine funding.

"Making sure the Defense Department can deal with the major threats coming from Russia and China, providing assistance for Ukrainians to defeat the Russians, that’s the number one priority for the United States right now according to most Republicans,” McConnell said at a news conference. “That's sort of how we see the challenges confronting the country at the moment."

President Joe Biden invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to Washington D.C. for an extended meeting Wednesday afternoon. Zelensky is expected to speak to Congress, at the invitation of Pelosi, D-Calif., Wednesday evening.

During the speech, he is expected to rally support for more U.S. tax dollars to help fend off Russia’s invasion of his homeland.

“President Biden has invited President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine to visit Washington D.C. to underscore the United States’ enduring commitment to Ukraine,” the White House said in a statement. “During the visit, President Biden will announce a significant new package of security assistance to help Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression. The visit will underscore the United States’ steadfast commitment to supporting Ukraine for as long as it takes, including through the provision of economic, humanitarian, and military assistance.”

On this point, Bishop also had something to say.

“If an additional $47 billion in Ukraine funding isn't enough for you, the bill also authorizes a ‘Ukrainian Independence Park’ right here in DC,” he said.

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