To Thursday, President Joe Biden put his signature on a federal budget measure that has a total cost of $1.7 trillion, incorporates a number of the administration’s priorities, and formally prevents a shutdown of the government. He referred to this as the culmination of a “year of unprecedented accomplishments.”
In a tweet, Vice President Joe Biden explained that the bill will “invest in medical research, safety, veteran health care, disaster recovery, (Violence Against Women Act) financing, and gets essential help to Ukraine.” He went on to say that he was “looking forward to more in 2023.” While on vacation on St. Croix in the United States Virgin Islands, Vice President Biden signed the bill into law. According to the White House, he was personally delivered the law to sign via helicopter.
At a late hour in the afternoon on Wednesday, the bill was delivered to the White House by Congress. “The measure was presented to the President for his signature by officials from the White House while they were traveling on a commercial airplane that was already arranged,” an official from the White House told pool reporters.
At least once more during this year, Vice President Biden is being flown a significant piece of legislation for the purpose of signing it. A staff member who was already planning to travel to Asia in May brought along with them a bill that would authorize around $40 billion in aid to be given to Ukraine while they were in the region. The law was signed by Biden while he was traveling overseas.
Before the Republicans take over the majority in the House of Representatives the following week, the spending measure represents the Democrats’ and Vice President Biden’s last chance to leave their mark on how the government spends its money. It brings to a close a remarkable fruitful two years for Biden in the legislative arena, including a relief package for COVID-19, an infrastructure bill, and a measure to make China more competitive.
According to a description of the plan provided by Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, who chairs the Senate Committee on Appropriations, the proposed law allocates $772.5 billion for nondefense discretionary programs and $858 billion for funding the defense sector. This translates to an increase in spending across the board for the upcoming fiscal year 2023.
The comprehensive package consists of approximately $45 billion in emergency assistance to be provided to Ukraine and NATO allies, a revamp of the electoral vote-counting law, protections for pregnant t workers, an enhancement to the rules regarding retirement savings, and a ban on TikTok on devices owned by the federal government.
According to the summary provided by Senator Leahy as well as one provided by Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, the most senior Republican member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, it will also provide an increase in spending for disaster aid, college access, child care, mental health and food assistance, as well as more support for the military and veterans, as well as additional funds for the United States Capitol Police.
In addition, the bill includes a number of significant amendments to Medicaid, including one that has the potential to kick as many as 19 million low-income Americans off of the national health insurance program for those with low incomes.
However, the bill, which is over 4,000 pages long, did not include numerous elements that a number of legislators had lobbied to add. An increase in the child tax credit was not one of the numerous additional business and individual tax breaks that were included in the bill that was ultimately passed.
The Safe Banking Act, which would have enabled cannabis businesses to bank their cash reserves, did not pass either, and neither did the bill that would have assisted Afghan refugees already living in the United States in acquiring lawful permanent status. And the White House’s request for around $10 billion in additional funds for the COVID-19 response was not included in the spending package that was passed.
The spending plan, which is the outcome of protracted discussions between top Democrats and Republicans in Congress, will keep the government working through September, which is the end of the fiscal year. On September 30, Congress enacted a continuing resolution to provide temporary funding for the government during the fiscal year 2023, which began on October 1.
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