What’s In the Congress-Approved Spending Bill for 2023?

It looks like a government shutdown will be avoided. The House has passed a massive $1.7 trillion spending bill that would fund critical government operations across federal agencies and provide emergency aid to Ukraine and natural disaster relief. 

The bill passed in the Senate yesterday. It now goes onto President Joe Biden to be signed into law. 

Government funding is set to expire tonight. 

Lawmakers have been racing against the clock to clear the spending bill before the deadline. 

The massive spending bill is for the fiscal year 2023. So what is included in the spending bill? 

The funding includes $772.5 billion for non-defense discretionary programs and $858 billion in defense funding. That means an increase in spending in both areas for next year.

In relation to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, the legislation includes roughly $45 billion in emergency assistance to Ukraine and NATO allies. 

It also includes an overhaul of the electoral vote-counting law, The Electoral Count Act. It clarifies the Vice President’s role in certifying elections so that it is now completely ceremonial. It also requires 20 percent of members from both congressional chambers to object to a state’s electors. 

It marks the first major effort from lawmakers to block future efforts to overturn a presidential election following the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection on the capitol to keep then-president Trump in power.  

On that note, there’s also $2.6 billion to fund Jan. 6 legal efforts that include providing more support for prosecutions. And another $11.3 billion to help the FBI investigate and stop extremist violence and domestic terrorism.

There are new amendments that were attached that provide protections for pregnant workers. The Pregnant Workers Fairness requires employers to accommodate pregnant employees with things like extra bathroom breaks. 

An additional amendment for parents was also included. The PUMP Act also requires employers to give breastfeeding mothers time and space to pump milk. 

The fight to add these two protections has been years in the making with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle coming together on the issue. There’s also $8 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, which offers financial assistance for low-income families to afford child care. 

The bill also addresses health care. The spending bill will wind down Covid-era Medicaid rules that stopped states from kicking people off of the health insurance program. Beginning on April 1, 2023, state officials will be allowed to re-examine an individual’s Medicaid eligibility and decide to kick them out of the program. This means that more than 15 million will be at risk of losing coverage.

Rules on TikTok also made it into the spending plan. TikTok will be banned from federal devices. This comes amid privacy concerns over the popular social media app. 

The bill also would provide a boost in spending for disaster aid, college access, child care, mental health and food assistance, more support for the military and veterans, and additional funds for the US Capitol Police. 

The bill now goes to President Biden’s desk, avoiding a partial government shutdown in the Knick of time. 

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