Shutdown Ends as Congress Approves Two-Year Spending Bill


Just three weeks ago, a similar failure to agree on a new budget in January resulted in a USA government shutdown for three days, with scores of federal agencies across America unable to continue operating.

President Donald Trump signed the sweeping budget bill into law after it was approved by Congress, ending the government shutdown that lasted around five hours.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D., Ill.) said Thursday that a vote for the proposed congressional budget deal is a vote to deport illegal immigrants brought to the their parents.

Another US government shutdown became official at midnight Eastern time, but it might be over by morning.

But moving legislation quickly through the upper chamber of Congress requires consent by all 100 members, and Republican Senator Rand Paul threw a wrench in the works by objecting to a rapid vote. "These young people are going to get what they deserve and what we have promised, which is an opportunity to have the Senate vote on various proposals".

Paul's protest forced Congress to miss a midnight deadline for passing a funding measure to keep the government operating.

The House is expected to pass the bill, despite opposition for much of the Democratic caucus, assuming the bill can jump legislative hurdles in the Senate.

But Democrats, including House Leader Nancy Pelosi, expressed ire that the funding bill did not include protections for undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children. Most of that would come in the first year.

The DACA program was initially slated to end in March after President Trump announced in September that he was phasing it out.

Trump appeared to take note, and urged voters to elect more Republicans.

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Senate Republicans have vowed to hold a debate on immigration later this month, but Dreamers and their supporters worry a solution will not be found before the March 5 deadline. Paul asked on the Senate floor, as he predicted the deal would mean the return of $1 trillion yearly deficits.

But it is not clear how the House will vote, and how public services would be affected on Friday if the shutdown were to continue.

Fiscal conservatives share the administration's concerns, but most lawmakers praised the deal, with Republicans focusing largely on the increased military spending and Democrats on the relief civilian agencies will receive from the spending caps instituted by the 2011 Budget Control Act.

The new budget bill would raise military and domestic spending by nearly $300 billion over the next two years. With no offsets in the form of other spending cuts or new tax revenues, that additional spending would be financed by borrowed money.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Republican lawmaker who's been a leading advocate of striking a bipartisan immigration deal is guarded about whether the Senate can approve a compromise on the politically electric issue, days before the chamber is expected to begin a debate that looms as an unpredictable free-for-all.

While the spending bill's funding for the Pentagon has delighted the national security wing of the party, fiscal conservatives are up in arms about ramifications for the nation's debt. It would also extend the debt ceiling, authorize almost $90 billion in aid for last year's string of natural disasters, give funding to fight the opioid crisis and extend the popular Children's Health Insurance Program for an additional four years.

"I ran for office because I was very critical of President Obama's trillion-dollar deficits", Paul told fellow senators.

Republicans were sheepish about the bushels of dollars for Democratic priorities and the return next year of $1 trillion-plus deficits.

"I can't in all good honesty, in all good faith, just look the other way because my party is now complicit in the deficits", Paul said on the Senate floor. Really who is to blame?