US Congress moves to end brief federal government shutdown

Katrina Barker
February 12, 2018

A brief USA government shutdown ended on Friday after Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed into law a wide-ranging deal expected to push budget deficits into the $1 trillion-a-year zone. The House voted 240 to 186 in support of a bipartisan package that extends funding until March 23, and which will reopen government hours after a conservative senator forced Congress to miss a midnight deadline, sparking the shutdown.

Republican leaders, top Democrats and President Donald Trump are all claiming big wins in the $400 billion budget agreement signed into law Friday.

But Paul doesn't deserve the lion's share of the responsibility for the eventual shutdown, which lasted for a short time overnight before the final two-year budget resolution passed both House and Senate in the early morning. But the government stumbled into the shutdown, the second in three weeks, at midnight after a single senator mounted a protest over the budget-busting deal and refused to give in. They agreed to a budget agreement, signed Friday morning, that will allow for $300 billion in additional spending over the next two years, including $165 billion for the military.

"Now we have Republicans hand in hand with Democrats offering us trillion-dollar deficits", he said.

"There's no secret plan here to try to push this in any direction, and the Senate's going to work its will", McConnell said. Rand Paul prevented the deal from passing Thursday. "I want people to feel uncomfortable", he said.

Dent, a Lehigh Valley lawmaker who announced he will retire when his term expires this year, was supportive of the budget deal - but not pleased to be kept up all night awaiting the vote.

"I don't know why we are basically burning time here", Mr Cornyn said. Paul noted that he and many in his party railed against deficit when Democrats held the White House, but now seemed willing to look the other way with Republicans in control.

Some Democrats, meanwhile, called out the bill's failure to offer a fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who delivered an eight-hour speech Wednesday in an effort to force a vote on DACA.

But Democrats also had their divisions and wrangling, largely with liberal upset the measure were not tied to any plans to assist the "Dreamer" immigrants.

Three weeks ago, Senate Democrats dug in and made a decision to use a deadline to try to force Republicans to work with them on a deal for "Dreamer" immigrants, whose protections from deportation are due to expire in March.

Ryan, who needed Democratic votes to pass the budget deal, promised to bring a bill forward, but his assurances were too vague to satisfy Democrats. It was easily passed, by 71 to 28. There also is no offset reduction for almost $90 billion in new disaster aid for USA states and territories ravaged by hurricanes or wildfires a year ago. After the first shutdown provided a short-term fix to the bill, the recent vote by Congress has helped federal agencies stay open with a working budget.

Democrats did manage to get $6 billion in funding to deal with the opioid crisis and drug addiction, one of their key demands, and the package includes $20 billion in funding for infrastructure fix and improvement. "We will solve this DACA problem", he said. "I would argue that it's time to vote".

The bipartisan legislation, which keeps the government running until March, raised the debt ceiling, allocated $160 billion to the Pentagon and another $128 billion for domestic spending.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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