Published: Mon, February 12, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

US Congress moves to end brief federal government shutdown

US Congress moves to end brief federal government shutdown

Trump also appeared grateful that the Democrats did not shut down the government over amnesty for DACA recipients.

A bipartisan stopgap funding and budget package was introduced earlier this week by Senate leaders, who predicted swift passage before the expiration at midnight Thursday. Late Thursday, the tea party leader and Kentucky Republican put the brakes on the bill in protest over Congress' sudden willingness to embrace big deficit spending.

Paul's dissent dragged the Senate proceedings into the wee hours past the deadline, underscoring the persistent inability of Congress and Trump to deal efficiently with Washington's most basic fiscal obligation of keeping the government open.

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

Republican leaders say Paul wanted a vote on an amendment that is critical of the overall agreement but leaders couldn't give him that vote even if they wanted to, because it requires consent from all senators.The proposal also represents a sharp change in tone for Republicans who under President Barack Obama railed, and are now in effect removing barriers to spending previously put in place in part.

The rare bipartisan agreement dispatched $300 billion in new spending over this year and next for military and nondefense programs, plus $90 billion in disaster aid. With no offsets in the form of other spending cuts or new tax revenues, that additional spending will be financed by borrowed money. "Must elect more Republicans in 2018 Election!" On the Senate floor, North Carolina Republican Thom Tillis tried to convince Paul to stop his filibuster.

The projection for massive budget deficits has split Republicans.

Deficits are already projected to increase due to the Trump government's $ 1.5 trillion tax cuts, which were approved by Congress in December.

Trump was referring to a provision in the bill that increases spending limits for the next two years and raises the federal debt ceiling until March 2019.

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The US Office of Personnel Management sent a notice to millions of federal employees on Friday morning after Trump signed the measure, telling them to report to work.

The Senate deal provides $70billion for disaster relief for Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, which are still recovering from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, respectively; $20 billion for infrastructure; and $6 billion to fight the opioid epidemic.

Whatever happens, this week's budget battle dealt a clear immigration defeat to Democrats, who'd initially vowed to block spending bills until there was a deal to help the Dreamers.

Trump said it was a deal he had to make in order to get Democratic votes.

Republican Representative Kristi Noem told Reuters she voted against the bill because it raises non-defence spending and extends the federal borrowing authority.

It also would increase the government's debt cap, preventing a first-ever default on US obligations that looms in just a few weeks.

The California congresswoman has called for the bill to include protection against deportation for "dreamers", young immigrants who entered the United States with their parents illegally as children. 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.

"Give us a chance to allay the fear that is in the hearts of these Dreamers and their families, and remove the tears from the Statue of Liberty observing what is happening here", she said.

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