The Federal Government shut down for five and a half ours overnight, then reopened as Congress got a sufficient number of votes in line to pass a massive spending bill that will keep the government funded. The deal increases spending on domestic programs, as well as defense, making it appealing to just enough members on either side of the aisle to get it passed. It does not, however, include any provisions on immigration.
Senator Rand Paul held a vote up in the Senate over the massive levels of spending in the bill. The bill includes $300 billion in increased spending over the next two years including increases of $80 billion for defense and over $60 billion for domestic programs. The deal also raised the debt limit so that it won’t be reached again until March 2019. It also contained $90 billion in disaster relief for hurricanes and wildfires.
Paul wanted a vote on an amendment that would have kept Congress under strict budget caps, as well as removed the debt limit provision from the package. Because the budget deal was filed late on Wednesday, consent from all 100 senators was needed to hold a vote before the deadline at midnight. Any one senator could have held the vote up, and Paul did.
Paul pleaded with other Senators from the Senate Floor to rein runaway spending in. “Your grandkids are being stuck with the bill! Mark my words, the stock market is jittery,” Paul said. “It’s worth a debate whether we should borrow a million dollars a minute.”
“I’m not advocating for shutting down the government. I’m also not advocating for keeping the damn thing open and borrowing a million dollars a minute,” Paul added subsequently during an interview. “This is reckless spending that is out of control.”
Republican Leadership never granted Paul a vote on his amendment and shortly before 2 a.m., the budget bill passed in the Senate by a vote of 71-28.
Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi gave a marathon-8-hour speech on the House floor on Wednesday pleading with fellow Democrats to oppose the deal because it didn’t include a solution on DACA. In the end though, enough Democrats broke ranks and voted for the bill to pass. The House vote took place at about 5:30 a.m. this morning, and passed by a vote of 240-186. Seventy-three House Democrats voted for the bill.
The bill now goes to President Trump’s desk where is the President is expected to sign it quickly in order to minimize any major disruptions to the operation of the federal government.