The Republicans' massive $1.3 trillion "omnibus" spending bill has at least one enthusiastic fan: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
Schumer proudly proclaimed Thursday that the deal shows that America's "era of austerity" has "come to an end."
The 2,232 page bill, which was released to members today, is expected to be voted on later this afternoon. Schumer said Democrats will enthusiastically support it. "I'm really excited about it," he said.
"Overall, we Democrats are very happy with what we have been able to accomplish on a number of very important priorities to the middle class in America," Schumer said. "Infrastructure, education, opioid treatment, mental health, child care. For nearly a decade, the middle class in this country has suffered from a needless and self-imposed austerity, limiting investment of all of the things that create good-paying jobs and improve the working conditions of Americans, improve the lives of Americans."
"This spending bill, this spending agreement brings that era of austerity to an unceremonious end and represents one of the most significant investments in the middle class in decades," Schumer went on. "So again, that era of austerity which so hurt middle-class Americans is coming to an unceremonious end because this bill represents one of the most significant investments in the middle class in decades. For these reasons, I’m confident that this agreement will pass both houses of Congress, hopefully with comfortable margins, hopefully in a bipartisan way."
The Democratic leader said he was intimately involved in crafting the spending package.
"I’m pleased to say that the four congressional leaders have reached an agreement on the omnibus spending bill," Schumer said. "It didn’t happen until last night. It took a long time. Painstaking weeks of negotiations. More than a few of which went past the midnight hour."
Schumer thanked Republican leaders for their support getting the spending package assembled. "I want to thank Leader McConnell, Speaker Ryan, and their staffs, leader Pelosi and her team, Chairman Cochran, Vice Chairman Leahy and the appropriations committee staff and many others for all the hard work that went into this bill."
The New York lawmaker also praised the inclusion of new gun control measures, but said Congress will eventually need to pass additional gun restrictions as well.