$750 MILLION FOR IMMIGRANT SERVICES, A HIKING TRAIL NAMED AFTER MICHELLE OBAMA – Here Are Some Of The Most Notable Items in the $1.7 Trillion Budget Bill

Senators passed a fiscal year 2023 budget Thursday that would fund the government until September 30 of next year through a sprawling piece of legislation, known as the “omnibus bill,” packed with provisions and reforms that impact everything from election integrity to Medicaid.

The budget, passed 68-29 in the upper chamber less than 48 hours before the current funding measure was set to expire, includes $858 billion in defense spending and $773 billion in what’s referred to as non-defense spending, including $45 billion in funding for Ukraine amid its war with Russia.

Eighteen Republican senators joined all Democrats in voting in favor of the legislation, despite threats from conservative House Republicans who said they would stonewall any future legislation proposed by Republican senators who voted for its passage–an effort to extend negotiations into next year under a GOP-controlled House.

In passing the bill, senators also approved reforms to the Electoral Count Act that would clarify that the vice president’s role in presiding over Congress’ certification of the presidential election results is strictly ministerial and would require at least one-fifth of members of both chambers to object to the process–changes designed to prevent a repeat of former President Donald Trump and his allies’ attempts to contest the results in 2021.

Among the other notable provisions, the bill would reverse a pandemic-era policy that prevented states from kicking people out of Medicaid programs, which saw a 30% surge in enrollment during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The bill includes $785 million for migrant services such as food and shelter–money that is expected to be doled out to sanctuary cities that have seen a surge in migrants in the past year, including Sen. Chuck Schumer’s home state of New York.

$15 billion was set aside for 7,200 earmarks to fund projects in lawmakers’ home states, including $3.6 million for the Department of Transportation to fund a hiking trail named after Michelle Obama in Georgia and a $3 million earmark for the New York Historical Society and American L.G.B.T.Q. Museum Partnership Project–both subjects of GOP criticism.

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