US Senate passes budget agreement to end government shutdown

Lawmakers push for budget vote to avert government shutdown | Miami Herald

Lawmakers push for budget vote to avert government shutdown | Miami Herald

Just three weeks ago, a similar failure to agree on a new budget in January resulted in a United States government shutdown for three days, with scores of federal agencies across America unable to continue operating.

Earlier Thursday, the Senate voted to block a separate defense spending measure - that also included short-term federal funding - largely because it failed to fund domestic programs along with the military. Unfortunately, the Senate sent back a bill that will expand our government and increase the federal deficit by as much as $1 trillion in the next year alone.

Failure to agree on spending led to a partial three-day shutdown of government agencies last month.

In spending, it's a huge win for Democrats, but they did not get the assurances they wanted on DACA, meaning House Republicans are free to bring up an immigration bill that they want rather than one that hews closer to Democratic priorities. If an agreement is not reached by March 5, those immigrants, many of whom now have families and jobs in the United States, would no longer have legal status in the USA and would be subject to deportation.

Pelosi made it clear that she will not vote for the budget plan, but did not actively encourage her caucus to vote against it, leaving them to their own decisions. An official who was unauthorized to speak publicly on the matter says the vice president's trip will continue as planned even if Congress doesn't act before midnight to keep the government open.

The House narrowly passed the budget measure 240-186 early this morning after it was approved by the Senate about two hours after a shutdown took effect. It would also lift the federal debt limit until March 2019 and includes nearly $90 billion in disaster relief in response to last year's hurricanes and wildfires.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, expressing impatience with his fellow Kentuckian Paul, said: "Funding for the government expires in just a few hours". It comes on the heels of a hard week for the Trump Administration.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., asked Speaker Paul Ryan in a Thursday night letter to promise he would bring an immigration measure sponsored by Reps.


President Trump had already said he'd sign the bipartisan pact.

He noted that the bill is almost 700 pages long, nobody in the Senate has read it, and it will add more than a trillion dollars to the deficit.

Politicians from both opposing parties criticised Senator Paul for slowing the bill up and provoking the shutdown.

The failure to pass a budget bill on time has become a familiar sight in Washington.

The larger issue for Republicans was the massive spending increase which adds funding for both the military and domestic programs.

That part of the overall package was a bipartisan attempt by Senate leaders to end for many months, at least beyond November's midterm congressional elections, the fiscal policy quarrels that increasingly consume Congress. "No", Paul said. "I think it's an important enough thing that we should have a discussion over", Paul said.

As the clock neared midnight, opposition to the deal appeared to be growing in the House, with lawmakers on either side of the political spectrum voicing objections.

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