House Passes $1.1 Trillion Omnibus

The House on Wednesday afternoon passed the $1.1 trillion omnibus appropriations bill funding the government through Sept. 30 with a large bipartisan majority.

Lawmakers voted 359-67 on the omnibus package of all 12 annual spending bills to fund federal operations, sending the bill to the Senate and almost certainly ending the risk of a government shutdown.

Leadership aides and members on both sides of the aisle predicted that the measure would pass with bipartisan support.

Many of these members acknowledged earlier in the day and week that they weren't excited about the 1,582-page bill (which many had not read), but said would vote for it anyway.

"I'm not thrilled," said Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., who would have preferred to see an omnibus more in line with House GOP priorities.

"It's not a victory for the country, but it's a compromise and it will move us forward," said House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., who has been disappointed that Congress has not been able to go far enough in solving the nation's fiscal woes, both in the omnibus and in the budget deal negotiated late last year by Rep. Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen Patty Murray, D-Wash.

Hoyer was the only member of Democratic leadership to vote against the budget agreement in December.

But by and large, lawmakers decided it was worth it to hold their noses and vote Wednesday for the spending bill that would allow the House to return to "regular order" on appropriations bills, and to focus on other legislative priorities across the board.

During floor debate, House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., made the case for members to stand with him.

"This bill is a reflection of the need for members of Congress, under the constitution, to decide how and when and why money is spent by the executive branch," Rogers said. "The people elected us to fulfill that duty, and this bill does just that."

After the vote, Rogers said he was "almost giddy."

And, while the Club for Growth and Heritage Action for America urged "no" votes on the omnibus — as they have on most of the major spending compromises in recent years — their positions didn't hold the same sway over lawmakers as they did during the government shutdown.

"I think the government shutdown was a lesson to some that that kind of approach is not likely to be successful and has a lot of political damage," said senior appropriator and budget conferee Tom Cole, R-Okla., on Tuesday.