WASHINGTON — Less than 24 hours before a shutdown of the federal government is set to happen, the U.S. Senate passed the omnibus spending bill to keep the government operational through Sept. 30.
The chamber voted 65-32 early Friday morning on the measure, hours after the House of Representatives approved the measure in a 256-167 vote.
The $1.3 trillion measure includes more than $4 billion for the opioid crisis — including $500 million for related research and developing alternatives to opioids — $21.2 billion in infrastructure spending, $1.6 billion for border security, which includes replacing barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border, and $600 million for a rural broadband pilot program.
There is also an increase in defense spending, including a 2.4 percent pay raise for military personnel.
The bill also includes language that otherwise has been or would be considered as stand-alone bills; language similar to Jessie’s Law encourages the Department of Health and Human Services to develop standards for hospitals and medical professionals to make doctors aware of a patient’s history of opioid addiction.
The bill is named after late Charleston native Jessie Grubb, who died in March 2016 of an opioid overdose. She was in recovery from a heroin addiction when she underwent surgery for a running-related injury. The discharging doctor, unaware of her recovery, prescribed her 50 oxycodone pills.
The Fix NICS Act is also part of the measure; federal and state agencies will be required to report more to the background check system for gun purchases and incentivized for being active in reporting.
U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Capito voted for the bill, as did Republican Reps. David McKinley and Evan Jenkins.
“I remain very concerned about our country’s addiction to spending and our ever-increasing debt, but I will not hold our military and funding for important priorities hostage. I have always said that our values should match our priorities, and I will continue to fight for a responsible budget that puts West Virginia first,” Manchin said.
Capito said the package provides critical funding for areas in need of improvement in West Virginia.
“These are just a few of the ways this legislation will improve the lives of West Virginians, address many of the most pressing challenges facing our nation and create new opportunities for Americans across the country,” she said.
Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., was among the 90 Republicans who voted against the spending bill.
“Representatives were given less than 24 hours to read an over 2,200-page bill. This bill was written behind closed doors without the type of input Americans expect and deserve from their representatives,” he said.
As to the measure itself, Mooney pointed out multiple issues of his in a statement, including the lack of funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, the Fix NICS Act, funding grants going to Planned Parenthood and the effect on the national debt.
“I voted for all 12 appropriations bills to fully fund the government for the entire year. Those bills went through an open and transparent process and reflect the values of West Virginians,” he said.
The bill now goes to President Donald Trump for his signature.