U.S. Capitol
A U.S. Capitol Police officer stands on the Senate steps as storm clouds pass over the Capitol in Washington. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives on Friday passed a $1.66 trillion government funding bill that provides record military spending and sends emergency aid to Ukraine, hours before a midnight shutdown deadline.

The spending bill for the fiscal year ending next Sept. 30 was approved on a largely party-line vote of 225-201, following Senate passage the previous day.

The hard-fought legislation now goes to President Joe Biden for signing into law.

Among the five-member San Diego Congressional delegation, Democrats Sara Jacobs, Mike Levin, Scott Peters and Juan Vargas all voted in favor, while Republican Darrell Issa voted against.

“That there are worthwhile items among $1.7 trillion in spending is not disputable — but it’s also not the point,” said Issa, who complained that Congress should have allowed a government shutdown until the new year when Republicans will have a slim majority in the House.

He also cited the recent increase in asylum seekers at the border as a reason to oppose the budget.

But the Democratic members pointed to hundreds of millions of dollars in specific benefits for the San Diego region, from$36.4 billion for border water projects to stop the sewage flow from Tijuana to $7 million to improve Sprinter service and $3.75 million for a new twin-engine firefighting helicopter.

“Bringing federal dollars home to San Diego is one of my most important responsibilities — so I’m proud to have secured more than $16 million for 16 San Diego projects that span the 53rd district,” said Jacobs.

Peters echoed that, saying, “The omnibus funding bill passed today contains many critical investments for San Diego including funds that support our local defense sector and money for several critical local projects that will improve public safety, mental health services, and air and water quality.”

The 4,000-plus page bill passed the Senate on a bipartisan vote of 68-29, with the support of 18 of the 50 Senate Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

But just nine of the 213 House Republicans backed it. Their leader, Kevin McCarthy vehemently opposed the bill, calling it “one of the most shameful acts” he has seen in Congress.

McCarthy, who is seeking to become the next speaker of the House, has been struggling to shore up support from the most right-wing Republican members, even suggesting he would question further aid for Ukraine.

Reuters contributed to this article.


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Ellen Bullock