On Wednesday, House Democrats passed a $1.5 trillion spending bill that would pave the way for a massive social spending drive.
However, the infighting within the party prevented them from including the $15 billion COVID spendings that could have swelled the volume of the bill greatly.
A Sigh of Relief for the Remaining Fiscal Year
House Democrats were joyous after passing the latest funding; however, all of this did not come smoothly.
Dozens of Democrat lawmakers denied voting for the $15 billion COVID relief package, which was initially included in the bill and eventually removed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Reportedly, the leadership of the party, including Joe Biden, did not see this coming; they are now likely to find difficulties in funding their vaccination drives countrywide.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi noted it was “heartbreaking” for her to see COVID funding dying, but she pledged to bring COVID assistance soon in another form.
The newly passed bill includes a massive sum of $15 billion in aid for Ukraine, as Biden moves yet another step forward to help the country, which could invoke Russian response even further.
Senate Democrats are also likely to pass the bill this weekend; however, it will miss the Friday night deadline needed to avoid a government shutdown.
Thus, House Democrats also passed a temporary four-day funding proposal that would be passed from the Senate before the deadline, buying senators some time to pass the larger bill.
Democrats had a busy Wednesday in the House as they hoped to pass the 2,700-page bill by afternoon.
However, lawmakers from Maine, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, Florida, and Kansas started resisting, which delayed the vote.
Eventually, the bill was passed later in the day, as COVID funding was canceled from the package. House Democrats even denied passing the COVID funding bill as a standalone measure.
Democrats’ COVID Funding Bites the Dust
For Democrats, the issue at hand was to figure out how the depleting COVID funds would be replenished.
The top leadership of the party wanted to employ unused money from different states to fund the program; however, lawmakers from those states stood firm against the measure.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington noted this is not a fair approach to divert state funding to the federal one. Her home state would have lost $400 million, had the bill been passed in its original shape.
Congress has been navigating troubled waters to pass government funding since the beginning of the fiscal year in October.
BREAKING: Democratic leaders have abandoned plans for a fresh infusion of $15.6 billion for battling the pandemic. That clears the way for House debate and passage of a vast government spending bill that is anchored by aid for Ukraine and European allies. https://t.co/lAYA2lT6FW
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 9, 2022
However, it failed to pass any such long-term measure, which let them pass short-term measures repeatedly.
This time, Congress seems to solve this issue for the rest of the current fiscal year, as it would not need to pass any other smaller bills this year.
The defense sector also got a major boost under the new bill, as the spending would be increased significantly, despite progressives’ backlash against the measure.