While You Were Sleeping, Rand Paul Shut Down the Government, Then It Reopened - Here's Why
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump signed into law Friday morning a massive budget package that funds the government through March 23 while also lifting the debt cap on government spending.
The news comes after much early morning theatrics in the US Capitol building, which ended when lawmakers finally approved a two-year spending plan – a deal that appeased most Republicans and Democrats, but infuriated budget hawks.
The budget agreement is married to a six-week temporary funding bill, which is why there's now a new March 23 deadline. The move was needed in order to keep the government operating to give lawmakers more time to fully implement the two-year budget pact.
It all amounted to some high drama overnight in the US Senate. At midnight, just as funding for the government ran out, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul mounted a one-man protest forcing a temporary shutdown.
He's outraged the $400 billion bipartisan spending plan adds hundreds of billions to the nation's $20 trillion debt.
"This is exploding. This deficit is exploding and there isn't the alarm you should see," Sen. Paul (R-KY) said.
Once he stepped aside, the Senate passed the deal 71 to 28.
As most Americans slept, blurry-eyed members of the House debated the measure into the early morning.
Both sides got most of the spending they wanted: For the GOP, huge increases for the Department of Defense... for Democrats, a big boost for domestic agencies. Also: Funding for disaster relief, children's healthcare and opioid addiction.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) said, "This agreement will also allow us to step off this carousel of short-term funding bills that do nothing but hurt our military and stymie our ability to be able to focus on other important agenda items."
Still, Democrats protested that the bill doesn't include a solution for America's so-called "Dreamers" – the illegal immigrants brought here when they were young.
"All we want is a chance, all we want is an opportunity to address these issues that are important to our communities. Please, please, please give us that opportunity," Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA) said.
Speaker Ryan promises to work on an immigration measure... one that President Donald Trump can support.
"My commitment to working together on an immigration measure that we can make law is a sincere commitment," Ryan said. "We will get this solved this DACA problem."
But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wasn't buying it.
"Sometimes I think the speaker thinks he's speaker of the White House not the speaker of the House of Representatives," she sniped.
The House easily passed the spending bill after 5:30 in the morning, and President Trump signed it into law. In fact, the White House never showed signs it was worried the bill wouldn't pass.
Now that the government is funded for two years, Congress can operate outside the constant threat of a shutdown.
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