US Government Shuts Down again
Albanian Daily News
Published February 9, 2018
In the early hours of Friday morning, the Senate approved a two-year budget deal that would re-open the federal government, sending the plan to the House of Representatives -- where it faces a tougher vote.
The vote was 71-28.
The federal government shuttered for the second time in less than a month overnight, as Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul prevented the deal from passing Thursday ahead of a shutdown deadline.
Though the massive budget deal and government funding package still was expected to pass by Friday morning, congressional negotiators were scrambling all day Thursday to lock in enough votes in the House. And that was before Paul, a Republican, made public his dissatisfaction with the deal -- which would raise government spending, avert a government shutdown and lift the debt ceiling.
Paul took to the Senate floor many times Thursday refusing to agree to move up the time for a vote in the chamber on the bill, which requires unanimous consent from all 100 senators. In doing so, Paul forced the vote procedurally to occur after 1 a.m. ET on Friday, after government funding expired.
A senior administrative official said the White House has been instructing agencies to begin shutdown preparations in the event that Congress failed to pass a budget before the midnight deadline.
The impacts of this shutdown, which came just weeks after Democrats and a handful of Republicans including Paul refused to support the last continuing resolution but only lasted a weekend, were expected to be minimal -- but a path forward for the bill still remained murky in the House.
But it's not clear if there are enough votes in the House to do so, as liberals are unhappy about the bill not addressing immigration and conservatives oppose the increased spending.
After the vote succeeded, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell kept his word to move to open an immigration debate next week. The majority leader moved to call a vote Monday to proceed to an unrelated House bill that will serve as a vehicle for a process unlike the Senate has seen in recent memory, where senators will be able to offer a number of amendments that are competing immigration proposals to see which ones will secure the 60 votes needed to advance. But that will only happen if the House passes the continuing resolution later Friday morning.
Paul took to the Senate floor repeatedly throughout the night to slam his colleagues for "hypocrisy" and lack of fiscal restraint, as well as a lack of a fair and open process.
"There is probably a lot of blame to go around for the Republicans who are advocating for this debt," Paul said to CNN's Erin Burnett OutFront. "But I would say, really, primarily, this is coming from Congress. Leadership in Congress in both the House and Senate has decided to move forward. But the funny thing is you know so often in the media we hear 'we want you to work together.' They are are working together but working together to spend a ton of money."