On Thursday’s episode of “Evening Edit” on Fox Business Network, host Elizabeth MacDonald talked about the Senate’s passage of the $1.7 trillion omnibus bill.
MacDonald compared the bill to the IRS’s demand that taxpayers report $600 transactions on payment apps like Venmo and PayPal on 1099 forms, despite there being no hearings on the bill and members not having enough time to read it all, according to a report by Breitbart News.
The lawmaker said, “They’re going to spend trillions of dollars on a bill they will not read, not hold hearings on. But now, they’re demanding every taxpayer give details on 1099 forms to the IRS about their little $600 payments on phone apps like Venmo or PayPal.”
Former Trump economic adviser Steve Moore responded, “I thought we were going to have a less intrusive IRS. By the way, there is additional funding for the IRS in this bill. Gee, I thought when Republicans were running for Congress, they said they would not allow the additional funding. Now we know why they want 87,000 new IRS agents, to monitor if you go out and buy a sofa…then the IRS is going to want to know about that transaction.” Moore added that the majority of Congressmen are unaware of the bill’s contents.
The Hill reported on several of the major takeaways from the $1.7 trillion bill which was approved by the Senate on Thursday by a vote of 68-29 and by the House on Friday by a vote of 225-201-1. The financial package is now on its way to the White House, where President Biden is anticipated to give his approval.
4,000 page bill
The 4,000-page bill’s highlights include $773 billion allocated to non-defense discretionary spending, as opposed to $858 billion for defense funding.
When not accounting for the veterans funding, which Democrats had previously pushed be classified in its own part in budget discussions, negotiators said the defense funding baseline saw an increase of around 10% while the nondefense baseline saw an increase of almost 50%. Republican supporters of the package claim that the law has emphasized that gap as a brake on domestic spending by Democrats while shoring up Pentagon operations at a pace faster than inflation, which last month hit an annual rate of 7.1 percent.
“The world’s greatest military will get the funding increase that it needs, outpacing inflation. Meanwhile, nondefense, non-veterans spending will come in below the rate of inflation, for a real-dollar cut,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said.
Nearly a year after Russia invaded Ukraine, Congress approved $45 billion in emergency financing for the country. This comprises around $19.8 billion for the armament and equipment of the Ukraine and its allies in Europe, $12.9 billion for aid to the economy, and $6.2 billion for the Department of Defense.
Last month, the White House requested $37.7 billion in extra funding for Ukraine from Congress. The increase in money comes at a time when some conservatives are criticizing the assistance, which raises questions about how such cash would fare in a split Congress the following year. As the first foreign leader to address Congress during a war since 1941, when Winston Churchill visited the nation’s capital, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gave a historic statement to Congress earlier this week.
The law also references the Electoral Count Reform Act. The bill amends the Electoral Count Act of 1887 to make it clear that the vice president cannot annul election results when the Electoral College votes are counted by Congress and increases the number of members required to object to a state’s electors.
In response to the events of January 6, 2021, when then-President Trump persuaded then-Vice President Mike Pence to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s election, the legislation was created. In what has been viewed as a noteworthy rebuke of the former president, who has campaigned for the 1887 legislation to stay unchanged, eighteen Republican senators joined Democrats in voting to support the bill as part of the broader budget agreement.
The bill also covered healthcare issues as well as several addons which were last-minute tweaks to the bill. The eight changes adopted include measures to increase breastfeeding worker rights, allow revenues from assets seized from sanctioned Russian oligarchs to be used for Ukraine help, and deal with 9/11 victim compensation.
The amendment to ensure that Navy Lt. Ridge Alkonis’ pay and benefits are maintained was also adopted by Congress. Deseret News claims that when he was serving a three-year prison sentence in Japan for an automobile accident that claimed the lives of two people, his pay was reduced. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) also introduced legislation to ban the use of TikTok on government phones and devices, which was included in the omnibus. But before the Thursday vote, the law had already been incorporated into the package.