House Approves 2025 Spending Bill, Faces Senate Rejection


The House approved the first of its 12 annual spending bills on Wednesday, initiating the protracted and likely partisan struggle to finalize the budget for the 2025 fiscal year as Republicans and Democrats begin disagreeing on the measures being introduced for negotiation.

Lawmakers voted 209-197 to advance the appropriations bill for Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, marking the first spending bill to clear the lower chamber under newly elected Appropriations Committee Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK). The bill largely passed along party lines, with only four Democrats joining almost all Republicans in support — making its future in the Democratic-led Senate doubtful.

Even if the spending bill were to clear the Senate, the White House has already threatened to veto the measure if it reaches President Joe Biden’s desk, accusing House Republicans of reneging on the agreement made by the president and then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) last summer.

“Rather than honoring their agreement and seizing the opportunity to engage in a productive, bipartisan appropriations process to build on last year’s bills, House Republicans are wasting time with partisan bills that would result in steep cuts to law enforcement, education, housing, health care, consumer safety, energy programs that reduce utility bills and combat climate change, and essential nutrition services,” the White House stated earlier this week.

The $378 billion spending bill usually garners bipartisan support and is among the fastest to pass the lower chamber. However, this year’s version includes several Republican-led policy riders that Democrats are already firmly rejecting. Many of these riders would overturn VA policies on providing abortions in cases of rape or incest and implement a ban on gender-affirmation care for transgender veterans.

House Republicans have criticized Biden’s veto threat, accusing the president of prioritizing “liberal policies” over funding veterans’ programs.

“This veto threat shows that our president cares more about liberal policies than honoring the promise made to our veterans,” said Rep. Michael Guest (R-MS). “I hope and believe that all members should support this legislation and that the House will stand with our veterans, who have sacrificed to serve and protect this great nation we call home.”

The policy riders included in the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs budget are a sign of the likely bitter and partisan battles to come for the remaining spending bills. House Republicans have already vowed to push for provisions in other appropriations bills to cut funding for “abusive federal law enforcement agencies,” including special counsel Jack Smith, who is leading former President Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 election interference and classified documents criminal cases.

This language, expected to be included in the Justice Department’s spending bill, would also target Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in Georgia and New York Attorney General Letitia James, who both have cases against Trump.

The passage of the first spending bill comes after the GOP unveiled an aggressive schedule to pass their annual spending bills over the summer, hoping to finalize the budget before the November election and avoid a repeat of the intraparty fallout that marked last year’s appropriations process.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) announced his proposed schedule to GOP lawmakers during a closed-door meeting last month, aiming to complete all 12 appropriations bills in June and July, starting with Military Construction and Veterans Affairs in the week of June 3. Under this schedule, lawmakers would finish by Aug. 1

The ambitious timeline will also test the House GOP’s leadership ability to pass government funding bills despite failing to do so until six months into fiscal 2024 last year. The appropriations bills are also likely to reignite intraparty tensions over controversial policy proposals that troubled House Republicans last year.

The House Appropriations Committee unveiled its proposed funding limits last month, with the overall totals coming in below the top-line agreement set during last year’s negotiations. However, that proposal is unlikely to go far in the Senate, where party leaders on both sides have expressed a desire for higher allocations.

Even if the House manages to pass all 12 of its appropriations bills before its annual August recess, it’s uncertain whether the Senate will act with similar speed. Senate leaders and the White House may seek to delay the process until after the November election when it’s clearer who will be president in 2025 and which party will control the upper chamber.

Cami Mondeaux
Cami Mondeaux
Congressional Reporter. A Utah native, Cami graduated from Westminster College in Salt Lake City in 2021 and covered state government as a breaking news reporter for KSL News Radio.

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