House passes $1.7 trillion spending bill with Ukraine aid

By KEVIN FREKING

WASHINGTON (AP) — A $1.7 trillion spending bill financing federal agencies through September and providing more aid to a devastated Ukraine cleared the House on Friday as lawmakers raced to finish their work for the year and avoid a partial government shutdown.

The bill passed mostly along party lines, 225-201. It now goes to President Joe Biden to be signed into law.

Passage of the bill represented a closing act for Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s second stint as House speaker, and for the Democratic majority she led back to power in the 2018 election. Republicans will take control of the House next year and Rep. Kevin McCarthy is campaigning to replace her.

He is appealing for support from staunch conservatives in his caucus who have largely trashed the size of the bill and many of the priorities it contains. He spoke with a raised voice for about 25 minutes, assailing the bill for spending too much and doing too little to curb illegal immigration and the flow of fentanyl across the U.S.-Mexico border.

“This is a monstrosity that is one of the most shameful acts I’ve ever seen in this body,” McCarthy said of the legislation.

The speech prompted a quick quip from Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., who said “after listening to that, it’s clear he doesn’t have the votes yet,” a reference to McCarthy’s campaign to become speaker.

Pelosi said “we have a big bill here because we had big needs for the country,” then turned her focus to McCarthy:

“It was sad to hear the minority leader say that this legislation is the most shameful thing to be seen on the House floor in this Congress,” Pelosi said. “I can’t help but wonder, had he forgotten January 6th?”

Biden applauded the bill’s approval, saying it was proof that Republicans and Democrats can work together, and “I’m looking forward to continued bipartisan progress in the year ahead.”

“This bill is good for our economy, our competitiveness and our communities — and I will sign it into law as soon as it reaches my desk,” Biden said.

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