WASHINGTON — The House has easily approved a bipartisan $1.3 trillion measure handing huge spending increases to defense programs and domestic initiatives ranging from road-building to biomedical research.
Thursday’s vote was 256-167. That shipped the 2,232-page package to the Senate.
Passage there is assured. But some Republican senators upset that the measure spends too much could delay the bill. The question is whether it will be approved before midnight Friday night.
If it isn’t, that would force the year’s third government shutdown. That would likely be brief, but still embarrass Republicans controlling the White House and Congress.
The bill provides just $1.6 billion to start building pieces of President Donald Trump’s wall with Mexico and for other border security steps. But it doesn’t temporarily extend protections against deportation for young Dreamer immigrants.
White House officials say the plan includes key administration priorities, particularly defense spending. They argue they could not get everything they want because Democratic votes are needed in the closely divided Senate.
Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said the bill was not perfect, but “that’s not how the process works.”
He noted the deal includes at least some money for new construction along the border.
Trump sounded less than enthused by the bill Wednesday night. He tweeted: “Had to waste money on Dem giveaways in order to take care of military pay increase and new equipment.”