Washington, Dec 20 (IANS) The US Senate has passed a $1.4-trillion spending package that will fund the government through the end of the fiscal year, one day before the current stopgap funding expires.
The House of Representatives approved the spending bills on Tuesday to keep the federal government open through September 30, 2020, sending the legislation to the Senate. President Donald Trump is expected to sign it, Xinhua reported.
The spending package, passed on Thursday, will maintain the US-Mexico border wall funding at its current level of $1.375 billion, far less than what the president demanded.
It will also remove some key taxes of the Affordable Care Act, which many Democrats regard as a major legislative achievement of former president Barack Obama.
The bipartisan legislation will not only boost defence outlays, but also increase domestic spending. It includes provisions such as raising the age of tobacco purchases to 21 and providing funding for gun violence research, among others.
In early August, the Congress passed a bill that will increase the federal budget and lift the debt ceiling for the next two years. The bill, signed by Trump, would raise the caps on discretionary spending by 320 billion dollars over the next two years, and set up $1.7 trillion in debt over the next decade, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan watchdog group.
Congress did not complete action on appropriations before the end of the fiscal year on September 30, and it enacted a continuing resolution in September that keeps the government open through November 21, and then passed a short-term spending bill that keeps the government funded through December 20.
“This is no way to run a government. That the largest economic entity in the world is running without an actual budget in place should be shocking; that it has become routine is downright depressing,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the watchdog group.
“Congress and the president must pursue a clean appropriations process, free of gimmicks and unnecessary add-ons,” MacGuineas said.