Eighteen Republican United States senators voted along with Democrats to approve the 4,155-page, $1.7-trillion omnibus spending bill, sending it over to the House of Representatives, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) hopes to pass it prior to Christmas.
The massive legislative package that was released just days ago was passed by the Senate by a vote of 68-29 on Thursday afternoon, with the assistance of 18 Republicans. The 18 GOP senators who voted in favor included:
- Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO)
- Sen. John Boozman (R-AR)
- Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
- Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)
- Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
- Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR)
- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
- Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
- Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
- Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS)
- Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
- Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)
- Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT)
- Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD)
- Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)
- Sen. John Thune (R-SD)
- Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)
- Sen. Todd Young (R-IN)
Three GOP senators—John Barrasso (R-WY), Richard Burr (R-NC), and Kevin Cramer (R-ND)—were not present to vote on this enormous piece of legislation.
If passed, the $1.7-trillion omnibus spending bill would provide funding for the federal government until the end of September 2023. It is most likely to be the final piece of legislation that this Congress will consider since members are unlikely to return until next year after they depart for the Christmas holidays. When January rolls around and Congress returns to session, Republicans are expected to take over the House majority and make it more difficult for Democrats to pass any significant legislation.
The bill that passed through the Senate is stuffed with earmarks worth thousands of dollars that lawmakers included to further their narrow political goals. The Congressional Research Service defines earmarks as spending measures that are included in legislation to benefit “a specific entity or state, locality, or congressional district other than through a statutory or administrative formula or competitive award process.”
In the end, earmarks allow lawmakers to insert “pork” in bills to help fund projects in their own areas. It can be used as a way to reward donors or special interests.
The bill provides $45 billion in economic and military aid to Ukraine, which is in addition to the $66 billion already approved for this purpose, bringing the total of American taxpayer funds that will go to Ukraine just in one year up to $110 billion.
According to reports, American taxpayers have given more funding to Ukraine in 2022 than what was given to Afghanistan, Israel, and Egypt put together in 2020.
The massive spending bill sets aside a section of the U.S. capital city as Ukrainian Independence Park. The park will “include information on the importance of the independence, freedom, and sovereignty of Ukraine and the solidarity between the people of Ukraine and the United States.”
On Thursday morning, former President Donald Trump, who had previously declared that he's running for president in 2024, stated in a video that every Republican ought to “vote no” on the “ludicrous, unacceptable” omnibus bill, which has been “crammed with left-wing disasters, Washington betrayals, and special interest sellouts.”
“Every single Republican should vote no on the ludicrous, unacceptable $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill. It’s a disaster for our country. And it also happens to be a disaster for the Republican Party because they can stop it,” Trump explained in a video released on Truth Social.