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August 02, 2020

House passes $1.3T spending bill

kn95 MasksThe House on Friday approved a six-bill spending package to the tune of $1.3 trillion that includes some $210 billion for emergency funding in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The chamber voted 217-197 in favor of the legislation, which funds the bulk of the government starting Oct. 1. The funding covers the departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Homeland Security, Justice, Transportation, and Energy.

The passage comes one week after the House voted for a spending bundle to fund state and foreign operations, agriculture, interior and environment, military construction and Veterans Affairs.

That leaves two spending bills yet to be decided upon.

Included in the six bills passed Friday was a 3% increase in pay for troops, $9.3 billion for F-25 fighter jets, $22.3 billion for new Navy ships and $758 million to fight COVID-19 among defense subcontractors.

It also provides funding for state and local health departments, medical research and other public health efforts. Other funds are slotted for NASA, the National Science Foundation, law enforcement reforms, the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"This package prioritizes the lives and livelihoods of the American people and makes the strong investments needed to build a stronger future for every person," said Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the House appropriations committee.

Politico reported the legislation likely won't pass the Republican-held Senate, and President Donald Trump has threatened to veto it if it makes it to his desk.

If Congress and the president can't agree to terms on the spending bills, it could threaten a government shutdown beginning with the new fiscal year, which could be devastating considering the economic downturn during the pandemic.

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