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House Releases $2.3 Trillion Government Spending and Virus Relief Bill

December 21, 2020 by Dan McCue
U.S. Capitol, Nov. 12, 2020. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON — House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., released the text of a $2.3 trillion omnibus spending bill Monday afternoon consisting of all 12 fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills, $900 billion coronavirus relief, and other authorizations.

In addition to the COVID relief package, it includes $664.5 billion in domestics spending, and $740.5 billion in defense spending.

The legislation, a product of bipartisan, bicameral negotiations, is expected to be considered in the House later today.

“As I prepare to depart the House after 32 years of service, I could not be more pleased that we are concluding this Congress with a bipartisan agreement to provide the certainty of full-year funding for all of government and urgently-needed coronavirus relief to save lives and livelihoods,” Lowey said. 

“Because of the leadership of Congressional Democrats, this spending agreement contains funding increases for critical priorities and strong emergency relief to crush the virus and put more money in people’s pockets,” she said.

The more than $1.4 trillion fiscal year 2021 appropriations omnibus furthers House Democrats’ commitment to investing for the people with substantial increases to non-defense spending alongside small increases for defense-related programs.

The appropriations provisions include measures aimed at providing pathways to better schools, expanding access to housing, and tackling food insecurity.

They also fund local preparedness grants, expand access for rural communities through investments in broadband, and provide dedicated funding to protect the environment and combat climate change.

In addition to the fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills, the spending package contains $900 billion in emergency coronavirus relief to protect the lives and livelihoods of the American people. Among its provisions, the bill provides:

  • Billions in urgently needed funds to accelerate the free and equitable distribution of safe vaccines to crush the virus;
  • $13 billion increase in SNAP and child nutrition benefits to help relieve the COVID hunger crisis;
  • A new round of direct payments worth up to $600 per adult and child;
  • A $300 per week UI enhancement for Americans out of work;
  • $82 billion in funding for colleges and schools and $10 billion for child care assistance to help get parents back to work and keep child care providers open; and
  • An additional $3.36 billion for a total of $4 billion for GAVI, the international vaccine alliance, recognizing that we are not truly safe until the whole world is safe from the coronavirus.

The spending package also includes a number of other matters outside the Appropriations Committee’s jurisdiction and negotiated by bipartisan, bicameral leadership.

Speaking on the House floor shortly before the spending bill was voted on, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi emphasized the $900 billion allocated to coronavirus relief is but “a first step” and that more will have to be done in collaboration with the incoming Biden administration to “crush the virus.”

Pelosi also made clear in her lengthy remarks that negotiations over the current bill were often difficult and that many things each side wanted never made the final cut.

“I look forward to strong bipartisan vote today on this legislation,” she said near the end of her remarks. “Respecting it for what it does, not judging it for what it does not.”

The text of the spending package, H.R. 133, is available here.

A division-by-division summary of the appropriations provisions is here. A division-by-division summary of the coronavirus relief provisions is here. A division-by-division of the authorizing matters is here.

One-page fact sheets on critical Democratic priorities included among the appropriations provisions, the coronavirus relief provisions, and the authorizing matters are here, here, and here respectively.

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