This photo shows the Pride flag at the U.S. Embassy in the Holy See Source: U.S. in the Holy See/Twitter

$1 Trillion Spending Bill Would Keep the Government Running... and Ban Pride Flags at American Embassies

Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 2 MIN.

Lawmakers are closing in on a $1.2 trillion spending deal that must be approved by midnight tonight if key government offices are to stay open.

Reuters detailed that if lawmakers meet the deadline and President Biden signs the bill into law, the deal will "keep... the government funded through September" and "end a more-than-six-month battle over the scope of Washington's spending for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1."

"If they fail, federal agencies will begin a partial shutdown, furloughing thousands of workers nationwide and abroad," Reuters noted.

Among the must-do funding goals are "$886 billion for the military," and money for "agencies ranging from the Department of Homeland Security, Internal Revenue Service and Justice Department to Treasury and State departments," the article added.

Also evidently a key concern for lawmakers: banning Pride flags from flying above American embassies abroad.

"Tucked into [the] deal... is a provision that would stipulate only U.S. flags can be flown over American embassies," UK newspaper the Daily Mail detailed.

"Embassies sometimes fly flags like the rainbow LGBTQ+ flag to celebrate Pride Month or other occasions," the Mail backgrounded. "The spending deal will ban this practice and any other flags from being flown overhead," according to a source, the article said.

The provision is a rollback of "the State Department's 2021 authorization allowing pride flags to be flown at the government buildings," Forbes noted.

Some embassies defied similar Trump-era restrictions.

Other key provisions seem more substantive, if somewhat less colorful.

"Republicans cited as victories funding for 2,000 new Border Patrol agents, additional detention beds run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and a provision cutting off aid to the main United Nations agency that provides assistance to Palestinians," The New York Times reported.

Democrats, meanwhile, "were able to secure significant increases in spending on child care and education programs, as well as health research," the Times detailed, going on to cite "a 9 percent increase in funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, the nation's primary child care program, and a $275 million increase for Head Start."

"It also includes a $120 million increase in funding for cancer research."

Not all flags are banned; the American flag is of course exempt, as are "the POW/MIA flag, flags of Indian tribal governments, sovereign flags of other countries, flags of 'a State, insular area, or the District of Columbia at domestic locations,' flags of official U.S. agencies, the Foreign Service flag and the Hostage and Wrongful Detainee flag," Forbes noted.

The provision would prevent the flying of Confederate flags as well as Pride flags, Forbes went on to add.

But the provision has a limited life. It will expire along with the bill's funding on Sept. 30.

by Kilian Melloy , EDGE Staff Reporter

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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