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House Hands Trump a Border Fence Victory

Passes $1.4T federal spending package that includes funding
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 17, 2019 2:47 PM CST

(Newser) – The Democratic-controlled House voted Tuesday to pass a $1.4 trillion government-wide spending package, handing President Trump a victory on his US-Mexico border fence while giving Democrats spending increases across a swath of domestic programs, the AP reports. The hard-fought legislation also funds a record Pentagon budget and is serving as a must-pass legislative locomotive to tow an unusually large haul of unrelated provisions into law, including an expensive repeal of Obama-era taxes on high-cost health plans, help for retired coal miners, and an increase from 18 to 21 in the nationwide legal age to buy tobacco products. The two-bill package, some 2,371 pages long after additional tax provisions were folded in on Tuesday morning, was unveiled Monday afternoon and adopted less than 24 hours later as lawmakers prepared to wrap up reams of unfinished work against a backdrop of Wednesday's vote on impeaching Trump.

The House first passed a measure funding domestic programs on a 297-120 vote. But one-third of the Democrats defected on a 280-138 vote on the second bill, which funds the military and the Department of Homeland Security, mostly because it funds Trump's border wall project. The spending legislation would forestall a government shutdown this weekend and give Trump steady funding for his US-Mexico border fence, a move that frustrated Hispanic Democrats and party liberals. The year-end package is anchored by a $1.4 trillion spending measure that caps a difficult, months-long battle over spending priorities. The mammoth measure made public Monday takes a split-the-differences approach that's a product of divided power in Washington. ”The president is poised to sign it and to keep the government open,” said top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway Tuesday. (Much more on the sweeping legislation here.)


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