Skip to content

Congress Passes $1.2 Trillion Spending Bill To Avoid Shutdown, but No Ukraine Money

March 23, 2024 (EIRNS)—At 2:00 AM Saturday morning, March 23, the Senate managed to pass a $1.2 trillion spending bill to avoid a government shutdown, with the Republican Party left in shambles on the floor of the Senate. The bill passed by 74-24 and will be signed by Biden on Saturday. The bill included no money for Ukraine, prohibits any money to the humanitarian agency UNRWA for another year (!), and includes some money for the U.S.-Mexico border. It funds about three-quarters of the federal government for the next six months.

The House had passed the measure, the product of an agreement between Biden, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), on Friday morning. Several Republicans are furious, and a plan to oust Speaker Johnson is in the works, as was done with former Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

The legislation increases funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to support about 42,000 beds in detention facilities, and it would fund 22,000 Border Patrol agents. It also cut U.S. contributions by 20% to nongovernmental organizations that provide services for new arrivals to the country. It cuts foreign aid programs by another 6%, and outlaws the posting of LGBTQQ (Pride) flags being posted at U.S. Embassies, already a miniscule slice of federal spending, and a Republican change to the law that prohibits nonofficial U.S. flags from flying atop American embassies. GOP lawmakers hope to use that provision, a slightly narrower version of which had previously been in place, to prevent Biden-nominated officials from displaying Pride flags at official locations at U.S. diplomatic outposts. It eliminated policy provisions to limit abortion access and restrict the rights of LGBTQ Americans. It adds $1 billion more for the early-education program Head Start and $1 billion for climate resilience funding at the Defense Department (carbon free genocide). The legislation also provides an additional 12,000 special immigrant visas for Afghans who assisted the U.S. military and are attempting to escape the Taliban government.