Explained: What is in the $1.7 trillion spending bill that cleared the US Senate

The spending bill would provide roughly $45 billion for Ukraine

Representation. The US Senate

The US Senate passed a massive $1.7 trillion spending bill on Thursday, sending it to the House of Representatives for approval. The House needs to pass it on Friday so that President Joe Biden can sign it before midnight on Friday, averting a partial government shutdown.

The 4,155-page budget, which will fund the US government all through the next fiscal year to September 30, has several provisions, including aid for Ukraine and $858 billion for defence. It cleared the Senate 68 to 29 in a cross-party vote.

Though there were voices of disagreements, the hurdles were cleared through negotiations overnight as senators gathered early Thursday morning to work through more than a dozen amendments before getting to a final vote.

“This is one of the most significant appropriations packages we have done in a very long time. The range of people it helps is large and deep,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, said moments before the vote.

The bill, which runs for 4,155 pages, includes about $772.5 billion for domestic programmes and $858 billion for defence. Here is a detailed account of the major provisions in this bill.

Aid for Ukraine: Interestingly, the major highlight of the bill is the defence aid for Ukraine. The spending bill would provide roughly $45 billion to help aid Ukraine’s efforts to defend itself against Russia’s attack. This is more than Biden even requested, raising total assistance so far to more than USD 100 billion.

Electoral Count Act reforms: Overhauling the electoral vote-counting law is a major provision in the bill. This will make it harder to overturn a certified presidential election. The reforms are the aftermath of the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. It would clarify the role of the US vice president in tallying and certifying Electoral College votes. It also would create a set of stipulations to eradicate any confusion over the accurate slate of electors from each state. Former President Donald Trump tried to use the act to overturn the 2020 election.

TikTok ban: The bill also has a plan that will ban downloads of TikTok, an app owned by its Chinese-based parent company ByteDance, on government-owned phones and other digital devices.

Funding for US Capitol Police: The bill would provide an additional $132 million for the Capitol Police, thereby enabling it to recruit 137 sworn officers and 123 support and civilian personnel. Another $2 million has been set aside for off-campus security for lawmakers in response to evolving and growing threats/

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