House passes State Department spending bill just days ahead of government shutdown

The House passed its annual Department of State and Foreign Operations budget bill, overcoming a small number of Republican lawmakers who objected to some sections that gave funds to the Ukraine war.

The bill was approved by a vote of 216-212 in the House, just passing the majority requirement and being submitted to the Senate voor consideration. Its ratification is a tiny victory for House Republican leaders, who have been pushing for spending legislation for the last month in order to give the lower chamber some power in talks with the Senate to avoid a government shutdown.

House passes State Department spending bill just days ahead of government shutdown

Only Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Jr. (R-GA) and Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA) voted against the bill.

The bill succeeded despite Ukraine funding becoming a key sticking point for certain conservative Republicans, including Greene, who warned GOP leadership with a no-vote if budget legislation included aid to the war-torn country. A portion of the State Department appropriations bill allots funding to the Combating Russian Influence Fund, which aims to counter Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Because of the inclusion of Ukraine funding, Greene was the lone Republican lawmaker to vote against forwarding the spending package earlier this week. For the same reason, the Georgia Republican resisted forwarding the yearly defense budget package, claiming that both bills would be “dead on arrival” if the aid was not eliminated.

“I was the only Republican who chose who voted no on the prohibition for the four appropriations bills because two of the four have money for Ukraine,” Greene explained ahead of the vote to the Washington Examiner. “Both of those bills are dead on arrival since members pushed so hard.” I’ve been warning them that it will be a Republican election issue. Republican voters are sick of it.”

The budget for the US State Department and its international operations is determined by the annual spending bill. During summer committee meetings, House Republicans sought to rein in federal spending through appropriations legislation, agreeing to a the bottom line of $52.5 billion for programs included in the bill, a 12% cut ($7.2 billion) from last year’s levels and 24% less ($16.4 billion) than President Joe Biden requested in his budget proposal.

The bill funds agencies and programs aimed at bolstering national security and assisting US allies, notably those fighting the Chinese Communist Party.

The House will vote on a further three appropriations measures Thursday night, which include those for the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Agriculture.

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