WASHINGTON — The Senate passed a mammoth $1.3 trillion spending bill 65-32 early Friday, narrowly avoiding a partial government shutdown. While the bill passed with bipartisan support in both the House and Senate the 2,232-page proposal drew fierce objections from conservatives and liberals alike.
The House vote, 256 to 167, came earlier in the day after limited debate and no amendments. President Trump has signaled he will support the bill.
The spending package would increase domestic funding by $63 billion over last year's levels, or about 12%, and it would boost military spending by $80 billion, about 15%. Overall, the new agreement would allocate $1.3 trillion to fund domestic and military programs through Sept. 30, the end of this fiscal year.
Republican leaders touted the Pentagon budget hike as the key reason to support the bill — noting it’s the highest such single-year increase in 15 years.
“The fundamental question … in this bill is whether we’re going to preserve the primacy of the American military in the 21st century,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said at a Thursday morning news conference. “What this bill is ultimately about is finally giving our military the tools and the resources it needs to do the job.”
Democrats highlighted the funding increases for a bevy of domestic programs, including new money to fight the opioid epidemic, to help states with election security, and to boost infrastructure spending across the country. The measure also includes funding for a tunnel between New York and New Jersey — a project Trump opposes.
The Senate's Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, said the domestic funding gains were particularly notable given that Democrats do not control Congress or the White House.
“We’ve produced a darned good bill for the priorities that we believe in,” he said.
Congressional leadership wanted the Senate to vote Thursday but Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, both had other plans.
The chamber’s rules allow a single senator to delay proceedings.
Paul, who caused a brief government shutdown last month when he opposed a sweeping budget agreement, said he was opposed to the measure because of the increases in spending and he was unhappy with the quick turnaround on such a massive bill.
"This could have been written by President Obama and liberal Democrats," Paul said on Fox News Thursday night.
Paul spent much of Thursday reading and tweeting his findings from the bill while his fellow senators waited to see how long he would delay a vote.
Risch also expressed concerns because he was unhappy with a provision of the bill that renamed a wilderness preserve after a political foe.
But just after midnight both agreed to put aside their holds and the Senate proceeded to a vote.
In the House, conservatives supported a boost in military spending, but they opposed the plumped-up domestic spending. Many conservatives also were unhappy with what was missing from the bill. They had viewed this must-pass spending measure as the only chance to achieve key campaign promises — such as defunding Planned Parenthood, ramping up immigration enforcement, and expanding gun rights. None of those controversial items were included in the legislation unveiled Wednesday night.
The spending bill did include several items unrelated to spending, including a bipartisan proposal known as "Fix NICS," aimed at strengthening the federal background check system.
The immigration funding was one of the most contentious issues — among both parties. The bill would bolster border security by $1.6 billion, but that's just a fraction of the $25 billion the president had sought. Trump's requests for an increase in detention beds and interior immigration enforcement were also not included.
Conservative critics derided the immigration funding as meager and insufficient. Within hours of the bill's release, the hard-line House Freedom Caucus announced its opposition, ensuring that Republican leaders would need Democratic support to pass the bill in the House.
"This bill barely provides for border security, yet continues to allow federal dollars to flow to sanctuary cities," the Freedom Caucus said in a statement Wednesday night. "It includes the Fix NICS proposal without including reciprocity for Americans with concealed carry licenses ... It also fully funds grants that go to Planned Parenthood while making no changes to reduce Obamacare's burdensome regulations."
On the other side of the political spectrum, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus also opposed the spending bill — saying it went too far in providing border security and immigration enforcement funding and didn’t go far enough on health care and gun violence. The Hispanic Caucus also lamented the failure of the bill to address the fate of the so-called DREAMers, undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus' Immigration Task Force, had a blunt message for those Democrats who supported the bill, which boosted funding for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, even though the money was not supposed to be used for expanded immigration crackdowns.
“You just voted to deport. You just voted to allow more agents to knock down doors and break into families' homes and to rip families apart,” the Illinois Democrat said.
Other lawmakers complained about the rushed process — as well as the substance.
Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the Freedom Caucus, said he stayed up "very late" trying to read the whole bill and didn't even make it to page 800, despite some skimming and speed reading.
"I don’t know that anybody could have read more than I read," said Meadows, R-N.C. "So to ask for us to vote on a $1.3 trillion bill, having only read one-third of it, is not the process that most of us would support."
Contributing: Nicole Guadiano and Michael Collins