The House of Representatives passed the Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations package Friday, sending the $1.7 trillion omnibus bill to President Joe Biden’s desk.
Nine Republicans joined 215 Democrats in supporting the legislation. Two of the supporting Republicans will return for the 118th Congress. All but one of the 200 “no” votes came from Republicans. The package, which includes $858 billion in defense spending and $772 billion in domestic spending, passed the Senate 68-29 on Thursday.
More than 200 members filed proxy letters with the House clerk, declaring themselves unable to vote due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With Christmas two days away and a storm bearing down on the East Coast, however, outgoing Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi admitted that the filings were “related to the weather more than anything else.”
Republican Texas Rep. Chip Roy blasted the extensive use of proxies in a floor speech, accusing his colleagues of lying.
“Everything the American people is watching right now is a complete SHAM, it’s a FRAUD…The American people deserve us to be here over Christmas actually FIGHTING for them!”
“What you see here on the floor of the House of Representatives should make everybody ASHAMED!”
— Rep. Chip Roy Press Office (@RepChipRoy) December 23, 2022
“The American people deserve us to be here over Christmas, actually fighting for them, instead of trying to catch planes, while half this body are going to vote by proxy. Half this body’s not even going to be here and they’re lying. They’re lying on forms saying they’re voting by proxy for COVID, and it’s a lie. And half this body’s going to do it. You know it, and it’s destroying this country,” he said.
House Republicans pushed for a continuing resolution that would fund the federal government at current levels into January or February 2023, which would allow a majority GOP House to negotiate a spending package. However, some Senate Republicans expressed concern that a split Congress could come to an agreement and avert a government shutdown.
“House Republicans say that they want to craft a budget, but they haven’t yet been able to select a speaker,” Utah Sen. Mitt Romney said.
“I just think for Kevin [McCarthy]’s sake, even though he’s not asking for it, I think some Republicans just feel like we should relieve him of that burden” of passing a funding bill, North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer added.