Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

US Senate passes budget agreement to end government shutdown

US Senate passes budget agreement to end government shutdown

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 US Senate and House of Representatives were expected to vote on a proposed budget deal on Thursday that would avert another government shutdown but that has angered fiscal conservatives who complain it would lead to a $1 trillion deficit.

"I agree with many of his concerns about deficits and debt, but we are in an emergency situation", said Texas Republican Sen.

On Wednesday, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, spoke for a record eight hours on the House floor, calling for a permanent measure that protects the almost 800,000 undocumented people, known as "Dreamers", who were brought to the United States as children.

Angered at the huge spending increases at the centre of the deal, Paul, a Republican, delayed passage for hours with a demand to vote on an amendment that would keep in place strict caps on spending that the deal would raise.

"Republican majorities in the House and Senate have turned the (budget) process into an embarrassing spectacle, running from one crisis directly into the next", said Democratic Representative Nita Lowey prior to the House vote.

The Senate had passed the budget deal on a 71-28 vote not long after the shutdown began at midnight.

White House spokesman Raj Shah announced President Donald Trump's support for the bill at his February 8 press briefing.

"If you were against President [Barack] Obama's deficits and now you're for the Republican deficits, isn't that the very definition of hypocrisy?" he said, adding later, "Are we to be conservative all the time or only when we're in the minority?"

If Congress can not pass a funding bill before midnight, the government will shut down for the second time in less than a month.

The military will get a staggering $700 billion in funding in fiscal 2018, an $80-billion increase from its previous level under the sequestration.

As most Americans slept, blurry-eyed members of the House debated the measure into the early morning. The deal raises those caps, which were set by a 2011 law, by about $300 billion through fiscal 2019, which ends September 30, 2019.

McConnell moved on the Senate floor to vote to open debate on the bill Monday evening.

"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.

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.

The bill had been expected to pass before the midnight deadline but lawmakers struggled with last-minute objections from Republican Senator Rand Paul, which meant they could not vote in time.

"I know that there is a real commitment to solving the DACA challenge in both political parties".

If the House passes the Senate's combined funding bill and budget, the amnesty and border security issues will likely be revisit when it expires March 23.

While praising the military spending, Trump lamented that Republicans were forced to compromise due to their slim majority in the Senate, where the GOP holds 51 seats and the Democrats 49.

Like this: