Published: Sun, February 11, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

What the bipartisan budget deal means

What the bipartisan budget deal means

Congress moved to end a five-hour government shutdown early Friday morning after the House voted to support a massive bipartisan budget deal that stands to add hundreds of billions of dollars in federal spending on the military, domestic programs and disaster relief.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi predictably voted against the bipartisan budget agreement, claiming it did little to protect millions of "Dreamers" now residing in the United States.

Most Democrats in the House voted against the spending bill, trying to use it as leverage to get a vote on immigration.

If signed by the president, a government shutdown that started at midnight will be brought to an end.

Eventually, however, the Senate approved the plan by 71 votes in favor and 28 against, at about 1:45 in the morning.

Meanwhile, potentially bigger problems surfaced in the House, where liberals led by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., were incensed that the plight of young undocumented immigrants who face the threat of deportation was not addressed in the spending bill.

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The federal government has shut down after a quarreling Senate blew a midnight deadline to pass a temporary funding bill.

It looked yesterday as though a deal had been reached, but Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) objected to the bill and prevented it from passing, insisting on an amendment that cut government spending. "Sadly, we needed some Dem votes for passage". Republicans want to lay out extra funds for the military, and Democrats are eager to put more into discretionary domestic programs.

While speaking against the Senate bill, Paul railed against the procedure in which it was taken onto the floor-he lamented the last-second nature of the bill-and criticized a lack of discussion regarding amendments being added to it. Paul wanted to add an amendment to the bill that would set budget caps to the spending bill.

House Speaker Paul Ryan responds to a question from the news media during a press conference on military readiness and spending in the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, 08 February 2018.

Trump is expected to sign the bill into law.

Seventy-three House Democrats voted for the bill, while 119 voted against it. "Mr. Ryan said he plans to take on those programs-though Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell and President Trump have already ruled that out".

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Trump himself tweeted that the agreement "is so important for our great Military", and he urged both Republicans and Democrats to support it. It also suspends the debt limit for one year. "We will bring a solution to the floor, one that the president will sign", said Ryan.

On the virtually foolproof assumption that the new spending will be extended after two years, the long-term price tag will be far higher.

Under Trump, Christian conservatives have defended a thrice married man after allegations that his lawyer paid a six-figure settlement to a porn star who reportedly had an affair with the president not long after his wife gave birth to their son. Asked if McConnell was annoyed with him, Paul said: "Not that I know of".

And while announcing her own opposition to the deal, she make it clear she would not exercise partisan discipline to force her caucus to stay with her (and obviously she didn't, since 73 House Democrats ultimately voted for the deal).

Friday's deal allows for $165 billion in additional defence spending over two years, helping Trump deliver on his promise to boost the military.

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