Senate votes ‘yes’ on historic spending bill

On Thursday, the Senate passed several bills that will fund the federal government well into 2020. Congress had until Friday to pass legislation averting a government shutdown.

Worth over 1.4 trillion dollars, the bills will cover government expenditures through September 30 of next year. President Donald Trump released a statement, declaring, “The government funding bills I just signed into law contain big victories for my Administration and the American people. They enable us to continue to advance our pro-growth, pro-worker, pro-family, America First agenda.”

In addition to funding the government, the legislation also contains a number of other provisions.

Tougher tobacco rules, immigration changes, and border security

One of them raises the minimum age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21. The change will take effect in 9 months’ time. Earlier this year, the Trump administration said it would try to enforce a ban on flavored nicotine vaping products, although that now looks less certain.

Another is the allocation of nearly 1.4 billion dollars towards fencing along the southern border, roughly the same amount that was allocated last year.

The bill also creates a pathway to citizenship for thousands of Liberians that are living in the United States. Situated on the west coast of Africa, Liberia was founded in the 19th century by freed American slaves.

More money for government employees

Meanwhile, President Trump announced in a letter that government personnel will be getting a major raise. Both civilian employees and service members will see their pay increase by 3.1 percent.

“Your devoted and vigilant efforts are critical to our nation’s success, as we work together to serve the citizens of our magnificent country,” the letter said.

“Your great contributions to this nation are why I am pleased to inform you that I recently signed into law major improvements to compensation and benefits for federal employees included in the 2020 appropriations package and the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.”

Finally, Trump celebrated the creation of a new branch of the military known as the U.S. Space Force. Referred to as “vital,” it represents the first time that a new branch of the military has been created since 1947.

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