Skip to content

House passes sweeping fiscal 2024 spending package

Senate passage expected possibly later on Friday, ahead of midnight deadline

House Freedom Caucus member Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, speaks during a news conference on the omnibus bill on Friday.
House Freedom Caucus member Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, speaks during a news conference on the omnibus bill on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House appropriators breathed a sigh of relief Friday as the House narrowly passed the massive $1.2 trillion wrapup spending package under suspension of the rules, which requires a two-thirds majority. 

The chamber passed the 1,012-page bill by a vote of 286-134, with 101 Republicans and all but 22 Democrats backing the bill. It would provide appropriations for agencies covered under the Defense, Financial Services, Homeland Security, Labor-HHS-Education, Legislative Branch and State-Foreign Operations bills, or about 70 percent of annual discretionary funding.

That tally is lower than the 339-85 vote to pass the first six-bill package earlier this month, though that bill included less controversial spending measures. This time, Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., wasn’t able to get a majority of his GOP conference on board for the second package, with 112 Republicans opposing it. 

The bill faced opposition from House conservatives unhappy with general spending levels, the inclusion of Senate Democratic earmarks that would benefit the LGBTQ community, and lack of further restrictions on migrant border crossings and abortion rights.

“Here we are again. The swamp is back,” Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, said as he led opposition to the bill. He said Republicans voting for the package “will be voting to fund the very policies you campaigned against.”

“You want to win in November? Vote ‘no,'” Roy added.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who also spoke against the bill on the floor, teased a threat to try to remove Johnson in an earlier appearance on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” program. “This will be the fall of Mike Johnson for allowing this bill to happen and not fighting and defending our southern border,” Greene said.

Some Democrats who opposed the bill were upset that it would block funding for the U.N. agency providing aid to Gaza while boosting Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention bed capacity. But the measure enjoyed solid backing from House Democratic leaders, who whipped in favor of the Biden administration-backed bill and have a strong track record of keeping most of their caucus in line.

“This bill sides with the hardworking majority of Americans and helps lower the cost of living, protects women’s rights and access to reproductive health care, reinforces America’s global leadership, and helps our communities be safe and secure,” House Appropriations ranking member Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., said on the floor. 

Senate vote as early as Friday

The measure now heads to the Senate, where it could be considered late Friday. Appropriations for agencies covered by the bill lapse at midnight, though a brief funding gap and weekend presidential signature wouldn’t amount to a shutdown. Senate leaders were still working on an agreement on amendment votes needed to secure consent from all 100 senators to speed up the process. 

With the House considered a more challenging hurdle to clear, Senate passage seems all but assured, and President Joe Biden has said he would sign the bill quickly.

Both chambers’ upcoming two-week recess is another encouraging factor as lawmakers strive to wrap up the lengthy fiscal 2024 appropriations process, six months into the new fiscal year. 

Both parties found things to like in the final package, with Republicans heralding the continued prohibition on funding for the U.N. Palestinian relief agency and increased funding for Border Patrol agents. The measure includes a more than 3 percent increase for the Pentagon while domestic and foreign aid accounts in the bill would, on average, face cuts.

“I am proud to say that this bill strengthens our national security and funds critical defense efforts,” House Appropriations Chairwoman Kay Granger, R-Texas, said during floor debate. “Against all odds, House Republicans refocused spending on America’s most crucial needs, at home and abroad.”

‘Harming the American people’

Most of the House Republicans who voted against the bill were members of the House Freedom Caucus and other conservatives upset with the spending levels.

“Why are we in a rush to keep this government open that is so harming the American people by the very policies which they are suffering under,” House Freedom Caucus Chairman Bob Good, R-Va., said during a Friday morning press conference. 

Good blasted the bill for including funding for the Department of Defense’s climate programs, $200 million to construct a new FBI headquarters and money for the World Health Organization. He also objected to the increase in funding for the Department of Homeland Security, which GOP leadership has highlighted as a win in the bill. 

The inclusion of Democratic earmarks, specifically in the Labor-HHS-Education bill, also led to opposition from some Republicans, including House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Chairman Robert B. Aderholt, R-Ala. 

Aderholt, who is considering a run to be the next top Republican on the full Appropriations Committee following Granger’s retirement, objected to 12 earmarks from Democratic senators. 

One project Aderholt opposed is a $1 million earmark that Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., requested for a virtual programming pilot for SAGE, an organization that provides services to LGBTQ elders. 

Aderholt also objected to a $1.8 million project for the midwifery unit at Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, R.I., sponsored by the state’s Democratic Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse. The hospital’s family-planning clinic provides abortion and related services, which Aderholt objects to. 

UNRWA, border issues

On the Democratic side, progressives were uneasy about the legislation’s continued block on funding for UNRWA. The Biden administration blocked funding for the agency after Israel said UNRWA workers had participated in Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack. 

Congressional Democrats believed only UNRWA would be in position to address the need, but the preexisting ban was too much for them to overcome in negotiations with Republicans, for whom the continued ban was a top priority. 

“America should not be indifferent to children dying of dehydration and starvation because of man-made famine,” Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., said Thursday. “And there’s no way to have aid distributed into Gaza without that distribution system.” 

Migrant advocacy groups had also taken aim at the Homeland Security bill for the increase in ICE beds and funding for Customs and Border Protection, and some progressives were also unhappy with the level of defense spending. 

DeLauro urged lawmakers to back the measure as a hard-fought and long-delayed compromise in divided government that was necessary to avoid a shutdown and move on to the fiscal 2025 budget cycle.

“This legislation does not have everything either side may have wanted, but I am satisfied that many of the extreme cuts and policies proposed by House Republicans were rejected,” she said.

David Lerman contributed to this report.

Recent Stories

Capitol Ink | Special collector series

Congress’ tech plate is full, with little time at the table

Avoid hot takes on Trump’s supposed trial of the century

Food fight continues with ‘Food, Inc. 2’

Piecemeal supplemental spending plan emerges in House

White House issues worker protections for pregnancy termination