US House clears budget deal, ending brief govt shutdown

The House has narrowly passed a sweeping bipartisan budget accord, ending an hours long government shutdown and clearing a path for huge spending increases for both the Pentagon and domestic programs.

By TT Bureau in Washington
  • Published 9.02.18
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Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Source: Shutterstock

Washington, Feb.9 (AP): The House has narrowly passed a sweeping bipartisan budget accord, ending an hours long government shutdown and clearing a path for huge spending increases for both the Pentagon and domestic programs.

The 240-186 vote sends the $400 billion spending plan to President Donald Trump, who has promised to sign it.

Passage of the measure came over the opposition of Democratic leaders who demanded the promise of a vote to protect "Dreamer" immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.

A band of tea party Republicans swung against the piece of legislation as well, repelled by its spiraling spending levels.

Senators voted 71-28 to approve the deal, easily overcoming objections from Republican fiscal conservatives who say the bill marks a return to unchecked deficit spending.

The bill stalled in the Senate Thursday night when one of the opponents, Senator Rand Paul, refused to allow a speedy vote.

"I ran for office because I was very critical of President Obama's trillion-dollar deficits," the Kentucky senator said. "Now we have Republicans hand in hand with Democrats offering us trillion-dollar deficits. I can't in all honesty look the other way."

As the clock hit midnight, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney immediately implemented plans to close non-essential government operations, said spokesman John Czwartacki.

The move essentially started a race to the next deadline — the scramble to reopen the government before federal employees were due to report for work. The Senate planned to hold votes in the middle of the night and send the budget deal and temporary spending measure over the House by dawn.

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