Published: Fri, February 09, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Budget deal faces stiff opposition

Budget deal faces stiff opposition

In an attempt to avoid yet another government shutdown, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate reached an agreement on a two-year #budget deal. If Paul got an amendment, then every senator would want one.

In the end, however, Democrats declined to hold the spending bill hostage over immigration.

But both Democratic liberals and GOP tea party forces swung against the plan, raising questions about its chances just a day before the latest government shutdown deadline.

Congress is expected to vote Thursday on a massive bipartisan budget deal to increase funding for government programs by hundreds of billions of dollars while averting another shutdown.

"I'm not advocating for shutting down the government", Paul told Fox News Thursday before going on the Senate floor. The senator direly predicted a "day of reckoning", possibly in the form of the collapse of the stock market.

The Senate is expected to pass the deal later Thursday, sending it back to the House.

The government was shut down for three days last month after Democrats sought to have a spending bill include protections for the Dreamers.

Most Democrats opposed the measure, following the lead of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who tried and failed to use the moment to secure a promise for a separate vote on immigration. Instead, they offered him a procedural vote, which Paul declined.

The White House kept its distance from the quarreling on Capitol Hill.

In the end, neither Pelosi's demands nor the voting games mattered, as a critical number of Democrats supported the bill. Paul asked on the Senate floor.

The bill was later passed in the House despite opposition from both Republican and Democratic members. Or, do they oppose it until Speaker of the House Paul Ryan provides a guarantee for an open debate on the state of the Dreamers?

In a conference call with reporters this week, Mr. Coons said, "My concern is that now senators are saying the fallback position should be nearly literally doing nothing like a one year DACA bill and a one year border bill".

With Sen. Paul blocking action on a funding plan, Democrats were more than happy to blame the GOP more broadly for the shutdown - no matter how short it lasts.

"The bottom line is that we can now have the strongest military we have ever had", she said. "We've allowed these moments to pass in the past".

"We're in risky territory here", he said. "And all we're looking for is a simple statement from Paul Ryan". But Paul objected to what he called reckless spending increases.

"It lifts caps on defense spending, which is something the Secretary of Defense, the President's Generals, told they would need to ensure that we rebuild our military and protect our national security", said Shah.

It is hoped that the House would pass the bill on time for it to be signed by the president before resumption of work Friday morning, so the shutdown could be ended quickly with no telling interruption in the federal government operations.

The cost of those provisions exceeds $560 billion, though lawmakers included some revenue-raising offsets, such as increases in customs fees and a sell-off from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

As Paul railed against lifting spending caps, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill would cost about $320 billion. Republicans were almost unanimous in opposing that measure in their clamor for fiscal restraint in the face of growing deficits - demands largely drowned out now in the Trump era.

Another point of contention between Ryan and Pelosi is how exactly an immigration bill will come to the floor.

Worse still, the Republican leadership is trying to sell this spending spree as a bipartisan budget victory.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY argued there wasn't enough time before the midnight deadline to vote on Paul's amendment because other senators will bring up their own amendments. The budget agreement will set spending for programs for the next two years - if they stick to it.

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