US House Passes Bipartisan Budget Measure Ending Government Shutdown


Senate Spending Bills In Peril As Last-Minute Objections Arise

The bill was approved by a wide margin in the Senate and it survived a rebellion of 67 conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives thanks to the support of some Democrats.

But the libertarian, failed 2016 GOP presidential contender and "wacko bird" - a moniker an angry Sen. Paul objected to the budget's removal of certain spending caps and its raising of the debt ceiling.

He says senators will likely pass the bill, adding, "They'll be exhausted and ornery, but it's their own fault".

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.

Hours earlier, the Senate had voted 71-28 in favor. A government shutdown three weeks ago didn't accomplish anything other than yet another stopgap spending bill.

The House of Representatives voted 240-186. Kevin McCarthy (R-California) and Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) - have worked for weeks with Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and White House chief of Staff John Kelly on a separate bipartisan solution, though those negotiations stalled during the shutdown showdown. Aides closed shop early Thursday night, with no comment on the display on the Hill. "Also means JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!", Trump tweeted shortly after signing the legislation.

Vice President Mike Pence's trip to the Olympics will be unaffected by a potential USA government shutdown. "And I think he's used to getting his way", Paul added.

On Wednesday, Senate leadership announced the two-year budget deal, and it looked like the shutdown would be prevented if it passed the House.

With the clock ticking toward a midnight government shutdown, the 55-year-old lawmaker, ophthalmologist and veteran Senate pest made himself the sole obstacle to his chamber's quick passage of legislation keeping federal agencies open. This time it was a Republican's turn to throw a wrench in the works.

The president focused on the big boost to military spending as a win for Republicans. If it is, there would be no practical interruption in federal government business.

I suppose some would say that "intellectual dishonesty" is the essence of "bipartisanship".

Approval of the measure in the Senate seemed assured - eventually - but the situation in the House remained dicey.

But Sen. Rand Paul is holding up a vote on the Senate budget deal, accusing Republicans and Democrats of "spending us into oblivion".

"Without more Republicans in Congress, we were forced to increase spending on things we do not like or want in order to finally, after many years of depletion, take care of our Military", he wrote.

Leading up to the vote, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urged her members to vote against the bill but also urged them to hold their votes back, forcing Republicans to show their strength.

Still, it represented a bitter defeat for Democrats who followed a risky strategy to use the party's leverage on the budget to address immigration and ended up scalded by last month's three-day government shutdown. Protection for the Dreamers under former President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, expires next month.

Paul is protesting that the bill would usher in the return of trillion-dollar budget deficits.

As most of America slept, a government shutdown that lasted almost as long as Rep. Nancy Pelosi's record-setting speech on Wednesday began and ended.

"It provides what the Pentagon needs to restore our military's edge for years to come", Ryan said. Non-defense spending will increase by 63 billion dollars for fiscal 2018 and 68 billion dollars for fiscal 2019.

"It's just further example of the dysfunction of this place", said Sen. Jeff Flake, Republican from Arizona. He complained the new budget accord would drive up federal deficits - but didn't mention that he backed a $1.5 trillion tax bill in December that added red ink that was multiples larger than this week's spending agreement. The budget deal approved by Congress matters a lot to the Pentagon, and for domestic programs for opioids, health centers and research funding.

It also would increase the government's debt cap, preventing a first-ever default on U.S. obligations.

It also extends the government's borrowing authority until March 2019, sparing Washington politicians hard votes on debt and deficits until after mid-term congressional elections in November.

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