House Dems Abandoning New COVID-19 Spending, Clearing Way for Passage of Spending Bill

(Kathrin Tausch)

Congressional leaders are racing to pass a mammoth $1.5 trillion legislative package that would fund the government for the rest of the year and deliver badly needed humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

At the request of the White House, the bill had initially included $15.6 billion for the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic. But that money was stripped out on Wednesday afternoon when House Democrats balked at cutting previously approved pandemic assistance to their states.

The legislation includes $730 billion for domestic programs, the largest increase in four years, along with $782 billion for defense. It also includes emergency funding for Ukraine and European allies.

Highlights from the more than 2,700-page legislation:


The legislation contains a supplemental spending bill which provides $13.6 billion in emergency funding to support Ukrainian defense, aid and humanitarian efforts. The tally includes $43.6 million for the FBI to investigative cyber threats and cryptocurrency activities and for the establishment of a “Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative,” for violators of sanctions.



Nearly $4 billion is included for rural development programs, which invests over $550 million in the expansion of broadband service. This is an addition to the $2 billion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that became law last November.



The funding bill provides $14.3 billion to the Treasury Department, including $12.6 billion devoted to the IRS, which is the largest increase to the tax agency since 2001. The White House has said the agency has not been equipped to serve taxpayers.



The measure dedicates $35.2 billion overall for the Department of Justice, which includes FBI funding of $10.77 billion and a $506.4 million increase in grants to state and local law enforcement.



The bill provides $14.8 billion for U.S. Customs and Border Protection and $8.26 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and $409.5 million to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to address USCIS backlogs and delays.



The Environmental Protection Agency would receive a total of $9.56 billion and the Department of Energy would get $44.9 billion. Notably, the spending bill includes $100 million to bolster environmental justice activities, an $83 million increase above the 2021 enacted level. Environmental justice addresses equity and pollution issues that impact marginalized communities.



The bill provides $140.4 billion in required mandatory spending for SNAP, including $3 billion for the SNAP reserve fund, which would be used by more than 42 million people. The program provides food aid to needy families.



The bill provides $782 billion for defense spending, an increase of $32.5 billion above fiscal year 2021.

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