Lone Senator sends USA hurtling towards midnight government shutdown

09 February, 2018, 08:26 | Author: Teresa Adams
  • Exclusive: Pressure grows on Paul Ryan to commit to immigration debate

Rand Paul, R-Ky., held up a vote on a bipartisan budget agreement past midnight due to his objections over what he calls out of control federal spending.

Prospects for avoiding the temporary shutdown were dashed when Republican Sen.

The Senate is expected to vote on, and pass, a budget compromise which was hammered out by leadership from both sides of the aisle.

The White House instructed the USA federal government to begin preparing for shutdown on Thursday evening amid an eleventh hour effort by a Republican deficit hawk to delay a vote on a deal to keep the country running.

WASHINGTON ― The federal government ran out of money for the second time in a month early Friday morning, as lawmakers were unable to come to an agreement to prevent another lapse in funding.

Pelosi is under intense pressure from immigration activists and liberals in her caucus to take a stand for the "dreamers" - undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children who face losing work permits granted by President Barack Obama under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) but rescinded by President Donald Trump.

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The Senate-crafted bill, backed by Trump, although he played little role in its drafting, would end for many months, at least beyond November's midterm congressional elections, the fiscal policy squabbling that has consumed Congress for months.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said his Freedom Caucus will fight it, but "I'm afraid the numbers will get so high and the debt ceiling will get added and it will be a Christmas tree of spending - that a lot of votes will be bought".

But both House Democrats and conservative Republicans are threatening to withhold support for a vote that's a few hours away. It would also bump limits on defense and nondefense spending by just under $300 billion combined over the next two years.

The Senate plans to strip out the current text of the House bill and insert its own budget agreement.

The delay gave Paul a chance to speak his peace, but it was not expected to block the bill in the Senate.

In an appeal to Democrats to vote for the bill, Ryan said during a news conference that he would bring an immigration bill to the House floor after spending measures are enacted. At one point, the number two Senate Republican, John Cornyn, R-Texas, tried repeatedly to schedule votes ahead of the midnight deadline.

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"I could give a raise to every soldier out there if we just come home from Afghanistan", Paul said.

The government will shut down at 12:01 a.m. if Congress does not pass a funding bill.

The White House plan - which would put 1.8 million immigrants on a path to citizenship, boost border security, and dramatically curtail legal immigration - has been panned by Democrats.

House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi spoke for more than eight hours, the longest continuous speech on the House floor in well over a century.

Paul said he objected to the deal to lift budget caps over the next two years, which, alongside the GOP's tax cuts passed late last year, will add further to the deficit, and blasted the process around the debate itself.

Trump said earlier this week he'd "love to see a shutdown" if Congress couldn't pass a deal by Thursday that included his demands for immigration restrictions.

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