Sunday, 27 May, 2018

US House passes budget deal, ending government shutdown

Rand Paul US House passes budget deal, ending government shutdown
Andrew Cummings | 12 February, 2018, 01:30

After a brief government shutdown that lasted into the early hours of Friday morning, Congress passed an expansive budget deal that adds hundreds of billions of dollars to the budget for military and domestic programs, according to The Washington Post.

Until Trump signed the bill, which the Senate passed with a vote of 71-28 and the House of Representatives approved by a count of 240-186, federal agencies were technically without funding.

But President Donald Trump, in signing the bill into law, foreshadowed the bitter fights ahead. Paul took advantage of Senate rules to delay a vote on the budget bill until early Friday morning, after the midnight shutdown deadline. 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.

US Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) has released a statement following his vote against the budget agreement. Trump has vowed to end the so-called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, by March 5. "Now we have Republicans hand-in-hand with Democrats offering us trillion-dollar deficits".

Such disputes won't help the party energize the Hispanic and liberal voters it will need as it tries capturing House and perhaps Senate control in November. Rand Paul prevented the deal from passing Thursday. On the Senate floor, North Carolina Republican Thom Tillis tried to convince Paul to stop his filibuster.

The government was forced to shut down for three days in mid-January after the Senate failed to pass a stopgap budget amid Democratic demands for a deal to protect "Dreamers". "I didn't come up here to be liked". That's far more in defense spending than America's two nearest competitors, China and Russian Federation, and will mean the military can foot the bill for thousands more troops, more training, more ships and a lot else.

After the vote succeeded, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell kept his word to move to open an immigration debate next week.

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He is expected to travel with the T20 side to New Zealand before heading straight to South Africa for the first of four Tests. However, Warner's form is again in the spotlight after his relentless playing schedule.

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President Trump had already said he'd sign the bipartisan pact. House Speaker Paul Ryan had not offered Pelosi an equivalent guarantee in the House, although he said in a speech before Friday's vote that he would push ahead for a deal.

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 shutdown. Some noted on Twitter that they were not, as White House chief of staff John F. Kelly said, "lazy".

As the midnight shutdown deadline loomed, Paul said on the Senate floor that he wanted to put lawmakers on the spot about government spending. The effects were expected to be minimal given that it started and is expected to finish with Trump's signature before most of the federal workforce arrives at work Friday morning. He also called the bill a "big victory" for the military.

Still, some GOP activists anxious that the deal reinforces the notion that congressional Republicans are not delivering on their promises to slash spending and reduce the size of government.

"We will solve this DACA problem", Ryan said just before the vote. "We know that because we live in Florida; we've seen our constituents suffering from it".

The measure boosts both defense and nondefense accounts, and unleashes new funding for the opioid crisis, infrastructure investments in roads, bridges and broadband and multiyear funds for community health centers and the Children's Health Insurance Program.

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