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Democrats, GOP hammer out $1.5T spending bill

Democrats, GOP hammer out $1.5T spending bill
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., walks through the Ohio Clock corridor at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday. He announced a bipartisan agreement on a spending bill Wednesday. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

March 9 (UPI) -- Democrats and Republicans celebrated a wide-ranging $1.5 trillion omnibus spending package early Monday out of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The proposed bipartisan bill increases nonmilitary discretionary spending over the next four years, something Democrats wanted, while Republicans celebrated a $42 billion increase in defense spending.

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Some $14 billion in the bill is being offered for emergency humanitarian, security and economic support for Ukraine and central European allies.

"This bill makes bold investments in critical areas that went underfunded or even neglected in the previous administration, including education, childcare, healthcare, the environment, science and research, and many more," Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said in a statement.

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Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said the agreement pushed defense spending beyond what President Joe Biden asked for.

"Throughout this process, I have insisted upon dollar-for-dollar parity for defense and non-defense increases, preservation of long-standing legacy riders, and the exclusion of partisan poison pills," Shelby said in a statement.

"I am pleased that we have achieved all three goals. The bill includes a $42 billion increase in defense spending, provides robust funding for border security, and preserves policies that protect life... The omnibus rejects liberal policies and effectively addresses Republican priorities. The House and Senate should act quickly and send it to the president."

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Shelby celebrated the preservation of the Hyde amendment, which bars the use of federal funds to pay for abortion and the Democratic effort to adjust immigration laws.

The Democrats said they will see increased spending in such areas as public education, college affordability, housing, climate change and drug treatment.

The bill now faces votes in the House and Senate before it can reach Biden's desk.

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