The Senate approved $146B ‘minibus’ spending bill, sends to house

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said it is “zero”chance of a government shutdown Oct. 1.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, file)

The Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved the first of three so-called “minibus” spending packages aimed at funding most of the Federal government when the new budget year begins. Oct. 1.

The $146 billion measure funding the energy Department, veterans programs, and the legislature, which was passed, 92-5. Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; Ed Markey, D-Mass.; Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, and Rand Paul, R-Ky., against the measure.

The house is set to vote on the package on Thursday.

If all three compromise-spending packages are approved by both chambers and signed by President Donald Trump, you would almost 90 per cent of the annual expenditure, including the military, and most civilian. But the legislature must still come up with a stopgap solution to Finance legislation, a part of the government, including the Department of Homeland Security.

The “minibus” bills represent a significant departure from recent years when the Congress has routinely ignored the Agency-specific expenditure measures in favour of the so-called “omnibus” packages, which funds the entire government at once. Trump vowed in March that he will not sign another bloated bill.

“The American people expect us to do our work. If we continue to work together in a bipartisan way, we can successfully Fund nearly 90 per cent of the Federal government through the regular order-something Congress has not been able to in many years,” said Senate appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R — Ala

“This package is not perfect, but that is the nature of compromise,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the ranking member on the appropriations panel.

The President has threatened to shut down the government to drive on Oct. 1, unless Congress sets aside billions of dollars to Finance his promised wall along the U.S.-Mexican border.

GOP leaders have said they prefer to address the issue after the midterm elections.

With Republicans in the White house and both chambers of Congress, GOP leaders fear have to control that the voters would blame them for a standstill, worsening the party’s prospects for retaining the Congress.

“We are still in favor of the wall, nor do we want to get funding for the wall, but we think that the best time for this discussion is after the election,” Senate majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Fox News last week said.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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