Congress To Hold Vote On Budget Bill As Shutdown Deadline Looms

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After a brief government shutdown that lasted into the early hours of Friday morning, Congress passed an expansive budget deal that adds hundreds of billions of dollars to the budget for military and domestic programs, according to The Washington Post.

A 71-28 Senate vote was followed nearly four hours later by a vote in the House, which passed the deal 240-186, just after 5:30 a.m. ET.

But the delay to the vote that pushed it past midnight put the government in a brief shutdown while congressional proceedings continued into the early morning. Sen. Rand Paul's (R-Ky.) demand that the Senate hold an amendment vote in protest to the more than $300 billion added to the budget deficit held up the final vote on the deal.

“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,” said Paul on the Senate floor, delaying the budget vote until after the midnight deadline, according to the Post.

The second government shutdown in three weeks officially came to an end as President Donald Trump signed the budget deal Friday morning, praising the increased defense funding that was included in the bill:

While the deal garnered wide bipartisan support in the Senate, members from both parties also voiced their concern. Paul and other fiscal hawks criticized what they saw as a hypocritical turn in the Republican Party, which some see as the party of fiscal responsibility.

Some Democrats, meanwhile, called out the bill's failure to offer a fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who delivered an eight-hour speech Wednesday in an effort to force a vote on DACA.

In addition to increase military spending, the deal renews several health care programs and tax provisions, suspends the debt limit for a year and allocates additional funding for national disaster relief.

Trump criticized many of the funding increases as efforts to appease Democrats in order to get the votes needed to pass the deal:

The budget deal could be the last major piece of legislation to move through Congress before the November midterm elections, and both parties will likely use it as a point of rhetoric in upcoming congressional campaigns.

With the budget worries finally put to rest, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has promised that open debates will begin on immigration reform, an issue that derailed budget negotiations three weeks ago.

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