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U.S. House to vote on $1.66 trillion spending bill on Friday

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The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday will vote on a $1.66 trillion government funding bill that provides more money for Ukraine’s defense, restricts the Chinese-owned TikTok app and reforms presidential election certification, a top Democrat said.

About two hours after the Senate passed the measure funding the government through Sept. 30, No. 2 House Democrat Steny Hoyer said the lower chamber would not take up the legislation until Friday morning as it performed some final legislative actions to pass it.

“As soon as we get the document … we will proceed as quickly as possible,” he said on the House floor.

The bill, which boosts annual funding from about $1.5 trillion, would provide Ukraine with $44.9 billion in wartime aid and bans the use of Chinese-owned social media app TikTok on federal government devices.

Progress had slowed after conservative Republican Senator Mike Lee introduced an amendment meant to slow immigration on Wednesday night.

That move prompted Democrats to put forward a competing amendment that would boost funding for various law enforcement agencies that operate on the border.

Both amendments failed, which in practice allowed lawmakers to move forward with the overall package.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Democrat who is retiring after nearly five decades in the Senate, praised the bipartisan support for the measure following months of negotiations.

His Republican counterpart, Richard Shelby, who also is retiring following a long career in Congress, said of the 4,155-page bill, “It’s got a lot of stuff in it. A lot of good stuff.”

Lee’s amendment would have required the United States to maintain a policy known as Title 42, implemented under Republican former President Donald Trump at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which prevented hundreds of thousands of immigrants from seeking asylum. It grants border officials the ability to rapidly expel migrants to Mexico without a chance to seek asylum during public health emergencies.

The policy was set to expire earlier in the week, but the Supreme Court put the brakes on Title 42’s end, as it considers litigation brought by Republican-led states.

Of the more than one-dozen amendments debated, the Senate approved one to allow the transfer of proceeds from the sale of certain forfeited property to be used to aid Ukraine. Another requires accommodations to be made available for pregnant workers.

While the spending bill is expected to pass in the Democratic-led House, most Republicans there have come out against it, criticizing the package for increasing spending without addressing priorities such as securing the U.S.-Mexico border.

House Republicans wanted to delay negotiations on the full-year legislation until early next year, after they take the majority.

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The U.S. Capitol is seen as Congress continues work on passing a $1.66 trillion government funding bill in Washington, U.S., December 21, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) addresses reporters during a news conference following the Senate Democrats weekly policy lunch at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., December 20, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo