117th Congress heads home, sends $1.7 trillion spending package to President
Mississippi’s Thompson, Wicker vote in favor of the bill as Hyde-Smith, Kelly, Guest and Palazzo oppose it.
By: Frank Corder
On Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 225-201 to pass the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package the U.S. Senate officially passed the day before, avoiding a Christmas break government shutdown that would have ensued at midnight when the authorization of funding from the continuing resolution ended.
The measure funds the federal government through September 30, 2023.
The Senate voted to pass the legislation on Thursday by a vote of 68-29 following a flurry of amendment votes in the chamber.
The over 4,100-page bill passed today and being sent to President Joe Biden’s desk authorizes roughly $858 billion in defense spending and nearly $800 billion in nondefense, domestic spending.
Among the spending and reforms noted in the bill are:
• 10% increase in defense spending.
• 4.6% pay increase for military service members and Pentagon employees.
• $45 billion in additional aid to Ukraine.
• Nearly $40 billion in disaster relief funds.
• Clarifying the 1887 Electoral Count Act pertaining to the election certification process in the wake of the 2020 election and the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot.
• Banning the use of TikTok on government devices.
In addition, the bill includes $600 million in emergency funding for water infrastructure projects in Jackson, Mississippi’s capital city, which would be administered by a third-party manager appointed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
How Mississippi’s Delegation Voted
In the Senate, Mississippi’s two Republicans split their votes on final passage of the spending bill with senior Senator Roger Wicker voting in favor of the legislation and junior Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith opposing it.
In all, 18 Republicans joined the chamber’s 50 Democrats to pass the measure in the U.S. Senate.
In the House, Mississippi 2nd District Congressman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat, voted with all but two of his party’s members to pass the bill on Friday. Fellow Democrat Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez opposed the bill while Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Talib voted “present.”
All three of Mississippi’s Republican Congressmen – Trent Kelly in the 1st District, Michael Guest in the 3rd District, and Steven Palazzo in the 4th District – voted no on the bill. Nine Republicans in the chamber voted for the bill and four did not vote at all.
This was the last vote to be taken by the 117th Congress.
When members return after the new year, the 118th Congress will be sworn in, with Republicans assuming a slim majority in the House and Democrats holding the advantage in the Senate.
Senators Wicker and Hyde-Smith will return to D.C. as will Congressmen Kelly, Thompson and Guest. Congressman Palazzo, who was defeated earlier this year in the Republican Primary, will not be among the state’s federal delegation. Mike Ezell will be the new Congressman in the 4th District come January 3rd.