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5 things to know about the omnibus package

5 things to know about the omnibus package
Congress needs to pass the spending bill by midnight on Friday to avoid a partial government shutdown.

5 things to know about the omnibus package

The Senate passed a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill, which is 2,232 pages, with a 65-32 vote just after midnight
Friday, making their deadline to avoid a partial government shutdown.

President Trump is expected to sign the bill before Saturday to avert what would be a third government shutdown this election year.

Read on for a look at five things to know about the omnibus bill.

Immigration

President Trump didn’t get every penny he wanted for his border security plan, but a solution for those under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program aren’t going to find reprieve in the bill either.

The bill includes $1.57 billion for barriers along the border. Democrats seemed willing to concede on that funding, but dug in their heels against Trump’s plan to hire hundreds of new Border Patrol and immigration enforcement agents.

Gun violence

The bill does include incremental steps to curb gun violence, including the so-called “Fix NICS” measure which would strengthen the background check system.

The measure to fix the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), would provide additional funding to agencies and states that comply with the system. Those that did not, would be penalized.

More than $2 billion was also allocated to train school officials and law enforcement officers to identify signs of potential violence so they would be able to intervene earlier. This money, to improve school safety, would also be used to install metal detectors.

Gateway project

Despite opposition from Trump, a project to build a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River could get some funding through this bill.

The Gateway project has garnered bipartisan support among many New York and New Jersey lawmakers, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, a Republican who chairs the House
Appropriations Committee.

The House spending bill initially allocated $900 million for the project, according to NJ Advance Media. The spending bill removed the earmark that protected funding for the project, but a Schumer aide said it should still get significant funding.

The Gateway Project could receive as much as $540 million, the New York Post reported.
New York and New Jersey have committed to picking up half of the estimated $11 billion cost.

Tax fix

When Republicans pushed their $1.5 trillion tax bill last year, they did so in such a quick manner that it included mistakes. One of those mistakes was language that accidentally gave farmers a higher tax advantage if they sold crops to cooperatives as opposed to other buyers.

The spending bill fixed some of these mistakes. Democrats were able to get on board with the fix in exchange for expanded tax credits for low-income housing.

Johnson Amendment

The spending bill leaves out two provisions included in a previous House plan that would dismantle the Johnson Amendment, the 1954 tax law that protects charitable, philanthropic and religious organizations from partisan politicking.

Read more: What’s in Congress’ spending bill?

Editor's note: The opinions in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent the views of StraitBuzz.
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