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Senate readies final passage vote for $1.2T funding package

Senate readies final passage vote for $1.2T funding package
The Senate is on track to clear a $1.2 trillion spending package early Saturday morning, ensuring Congress will fully fund the government just after a partial lapse kicked in at midnight.

Senate leaders announced an agreement late Friday night to pass the six-bill package, with less than 20 minutes to spare before the deadline for funding the Pentagon and many non-defense agencies. After the House passed the measure midday, top senators haggled all afternoon and evening over votes on Republican amendments, finally settling on votes for a dozen GOP proposals.

“It wasn’t easy. But tonight our persistence has been worth the wait,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the floor.

Once the Senate clears the package for President Joe Biden’s signature early Saturday morning, Congress will have successfully funded the government more than five months into the current fiscal year, capping off a tumultuous appropriations cycle delayed by House Republican infighting.

The White House budget office announced Friday night that it had “ceased shutdown preparations” due to a “high degree of confidence that Congress will imminently pass” the funding package.

Senate leaders agreed to allow votes on amendments that would nix some earmarks, block the release of special immigrant visas and bar the Biden administration from waiving sanctions on Iran. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) also got a vote on his amendment to block TSA from letting people through airport security with information loaded into a border-security app called “CBP One” as their form of identification.

Congress has so far failed to fully fund the government more than five months into the current fiscal year, having already passed four temporary funding patches since October to buy time to reach a bipartisan, bicameral deal that would provide federal agencies with updated budgets.

The House approved the package earlier on Friday, with more Democrats voting for the massive measure than Republicans as Speaker Mike Johnson faces a new threat to his gavel.

The legislation includes funding for the military, health programs, the Department of Homeland Security, the IRS, congressional offices and foreign operations. The departments of State and Treasury are also covered, along with education and labor programs.

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