Last night the US Senate overwhelmingly voted for a huge appropriations bill with a price tag of $857 billion that will fund the Departments of Defense, Labor, Education, and Health. The lopsided 85-7 vote was held in order to prevent a government shutdown at the end of next month.
Mississippi’s appointed Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith voted in favor of the bill.
According to the Washington Times, the bill contains…
… about $607 billon in base discretionary spending for the Defense Department in fiscal year 2019, plus $68 billion for a special war fund that’s not subject to strict spending caps.
The bill also provides about $180 billion in discretionary spending for the Department of Health and Human Services, the Labor Department, and the Education Department.
Among the increases are $39.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health, a $2 billion boost from the current year, $500 million more for education priorities such as charter schools and engineering and math programs, and $3.7 billion to combat the opioid epidemic — an increase of about $145 million.
It also funds Obamacare and Planned Parenthood. Senator Rand Paul tried to block funding for Planned Parenthood but was himself blocked by the Republican leadership. Hyde-Smith did vote for the Paul amendment to cut off Planned Parenthood, all while not raising her voice in support of it, but by voting for the final bill, she ensured that money would continue to flow to the nation’s leading abortion provider.
The bill also failed to provide any funding for the border wall, but Homeland Security was not included in this bill and will be taken up at a later date.
According to The Hill, this may mean that there will be no funding for the wall:
But a fight remains over how to fund the Department of Homeland Security past September.
GOP leadership had signaled they would likely need to use a continuing resolution (CR) to keep part of the government, including DHS, open into the next fiscal year.
That would allow leadership to punt a fight over funding Trump’s controversial U.S.-Mexico border wall until after the midterm election.
Although conservatives like Rand Paul and Mike Lee opposed the bill, moderates like Cindy Hyde-Smith ensured its passage, thereby destroying any notion that she is a fiscal conservative.