After a temporary lapse in government funding that lasted through the night, the House passed a pricey two-year spending deal early Friday that will also fund the government for an additional six weeks.
"We could have literally had dozens of votes today but we squabble because people don't want to be put on the spot", Paul said. But it would be costly and further underscore a shift under way in Republican thinking.
"A country can not go on forever spending money this way", said Paul.
"Now we have Republicans hand in hand with Democrats offering us trillion-dollar deficits". Like other conservatives, Paul said the budget agreement would pave the way for big spending and ballooning deficits, and he said he was willing to force a shutdown to draw attention to the problem. Really who is to blame?
"We do support the two-year spending bill", White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters at the daily briefing.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., filed a motion to end debate on the budget deal late Wednesday night. "We could easily move this matter forward and have a vote". Stocks plunged on Thursday on heavy volume, throwing off course a almost nine-year bull run. The S&P 500 slumped 3.8 percent. The shutdown would be the second of the year, coming after a three-day closure last month that took place after the vast majority of Senate Democrats and a handful of Republicans, including Paul, blocked a bill that would have kept the government open.
The budget bill would not replace a lapsed immigration programme known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that afforded some 800,000 young immigrants protection from deportation and work permits. It is scheduled to expire on March 5. A few hours later, racing the bill through procedures that normally take hours, the House passed the bill 240-186, with 67 Republicans and 119 Democrats opposed, and 167 Republicans and 73 Democrats in favor.
"I don't know why we are basically burning time here", an exasperated Cornyn said. It's going to need bipartisan support. "Today we stand up for Dreamers because tomorrow we're going to stand up when there's a Muslim ban, when they come after our gay brothers and sisters, when they come after Planned Parenthood".
Paul voted for the deficit-financed tax bill in December. But he fell short of making an unconditional guarantee. Democrats have balked at those terms.
The bill also provides $90 billion for disaster relief following the extreme hurricanes and wildfires this past year.
Paul's objection drew an angry response from a fellow Republican, Senator Lindsey Graham of SC, who argued America's military desperately needs additional funds after years of budget caps that constrained both the Pentagon and domestic programs.
Meanwhile, the fiscal conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus are objecting to the budget deal for the same reasons as Senator Paul.