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US House lawmakers pass massive USD 1.3 trillion spending bill

WASHINGTON, March 22 (KUNA) -- US House lawmakers voted to pass a massive USD 1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill on Thursday that would boost defense funding and measure that curtails economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority.
The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a sweeping USD 1.3 trillion spending bill that makes good on President Trump's promises to increase military funding while blocking most of his proposed cuts to domestic programs and placing obstacles to his immigration agenda.
The 2,232-page bill, which was released late Wednesday, would keep the federal government operating through September. In a vote of 256-to-167 Republican and Democratic congressional leaders pushed the bill through the House to meet a Friday night government shutdown deadline.
The bill gives Republicans a major win by delivering a USD 78 billion increase in military spending, and includes USD 1.6 billion in funding for construction of a border wall, while Democrats won a USD 52 billion increase for domestic programs.
Among the many miscellaneous provisions, the legislation also incorporates the Taylor Force Act, a measure that would dramatically cut off US financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority absent reform, while exempting aid allotted to security cooperation and some humanitarian relief.
The bill also includes USD 300 million to the federal Election Assistance Commission to bolster election-related cybersecurity and combat potential interference from Russia and others in the November midterm elections. And the FBI is set to receive USD 300 million in counterintelligence funding to combat Russian hacking.
At the White House, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said Trump would sign the bill. It is widely expected to be the last major legislation that Congress will pass before the November midterm elections.
The focus now shifts to the Senate where it is still unclear if a vote will happen by Friday night. If it fails to pass by then, the government will enter its third shutdown in two months. (end) hy.sd