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Senate passes $854B spending bill to avoid shutdown

By
Danielle Haynes
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said the Senate was getting the appropriations process back on track. File Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said the Senate was getting the appropriations process back on track. File Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 18 (UPI) -- The Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday in favor of passing an $854 billion spending bill to fund some of the government's largest departments and avoid a shutdown.

The chamber voted 93-7 to approve funding for the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Labor, and Education. The package included a stopgap bill to fund the government through Dec. 7, avoiding a shutdown that would have started Oct. 1.

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"These milestones may sound like inside baseball, but what they signify is a Senate that is getting its appropriations process back on track," Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said.

The package includes military pay raises as part of a $674.4 billion Defense appropriation, $3.8 billion to fight the opioid epidemic, $725 million for community block grants, and increases for Pell grants and the National Institute of Health.

Trump has threatened to force a government shutdown Oct. 1 if a spending bill doesn't include the $5 billion he would need to build his border wall. The Senate hopes the fiscal packaged will make it politically impossible for Trump to do so and delay the fight until after the midterm elections in November.

House and Senate aides last week said the White House said Trump plans to sign the package should it be passed by the House, which plans a vote next week.

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