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President Biden Signs $1.2 Trillion Spending Package

President Biden Signs $1.2 Trillion Spending Package

Mar 23, 2024

President Biden Signs $1.2 Trillion Spending Package

President Joe Biden has signed a sweeping $1.2 trillion spending bill into law, thereby averting a government shutdown. The White House confirmed the signing on March 23, indicating that funding for various federal departments and agencies will continue through September 30, 2024.

“The bipartisan funding bill I just signed keeps the government open, invests in the American people, and strengthens our economy and national security. This agreement represents a compromise, which means neither side got everything it wanted.” - President Biden

The legislation, known officially as H.R. 2882 or the “Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2024,” secured Senate approval with a 74–24 vote following its passage in the House. The culmination of this six-month legislative process was marked by partisan disagreements over policy mandates and spending levels, necessitating several interim spending bills to maintain government operations.

While the bill has been met with widespread approval, some conservative members of Congress have openly criticized the increases in spending. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) expressed her discontent by initiating a motion to remove House Speaker Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) from his position, describing the spending package as a “betrayal of the American people.” The bill's passage followed a brief, two-hour partial government shutdown.

More Details on the Spending Package

Earlier in the month, President Biden approved H.R. 4366, the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2024,” which allocated $460 billion to key departments. The latest package supplements this with $1.2 trillion designated for the Departments of State, Defense, Treasury, Homeland Security, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, among others.

Overall, discretionary spending for the budget year now totals approximately $1.66 trillion, excluding mandatory programs such as Social Security and Medicare and not accounting for the country's growing public debt. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has issued warnings about the long-term implications of the nation's debt trajectory, suggesting potential economic slowdowns and heightened risk to the fiscal outlook.

The new spending package notably provides $825 billion to the Pentagon and allocates funds for security cooperation with Taiwan and the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. However, direct funding for Ukraine and Taiwan is currently stalled in Congress, with some Republicans demanding stronger domestic border security measures in return for their support.

What Else Is in the Package?

The spending package provides funding for border security, including $19.6 billion for Customs and Border Protection and funds for 22,000 Border Patrol agents. The Department of Homeland Security will receive $90 billion, allowing for 41,500 detention beds, exceeding the president's initial request.

Health and Human Services will see a budget of $116.8 billion, with the National Institutes of Health receiving an increase from last year. The Education Department's funding will experience a slight decrease, as will the budget for the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development.

Additional provisions include special immigrant visas for Afghans who supported U.S. efforts in Afghanistan and a partial rollback of the planned IRS workforce expansion. The bill also earmarks $200 million for a new FBI headquarters in Maryland, a point of contention among Republicans.

Originally reported by The Epoch Times


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