Rand Paul holding up vote to keep government open

09 February, 2018, 08:44 | Author: Lucy Floyd
  • Exclusive Pressure grows on Paul Ryan to commit to immigration debate

The Office of Management and Budget has officially ordered the US government closed.

In an interview with Fox News before taking the floor, Paul seemed to indicate a willingness to let the government shut down over the issue.

He notes that his office is "hopeful that this lapse in appropriations will be of short duration".

Pence is in South Korea, where he is leading the USA delegation to the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics. But the conservative House Freedom Caucus said it opposed the measure. "I think it's the best deal we can get".

It's crunch time for lawmakers to keep the USA government open, with funding running out at midnight Washington time unless Congress extends federal spending authority for the fifth time in the last six months.

But some Democrats are engaging in a high-risk, last-ditch strategy to ensure the House actually votes on immigration.

Essential government functions will continue regardless.

Missing the midnight deadline technically triggered a shutdown, but it could be brief.

The delay gave Paul a chance to speak his peace, but it was not expected to block the bill in the Senate.

"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", Paul said on the Senate floor as evening pushed into night.

Vox's Tara Golshan ran through the particulars of the spending deal that Senate leaders announced earlier this week.

It's clear that Senate Democrats have no appetite for another government shutdown.

Pence is set to lead the USA delegation to the opening ceremonies of the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday evening. Republicans, he said, should be doing more to make overtures to Democrats if they need their votes to keep the government open.

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An official with the White House's Office of Management and Budget told NPR that OMB is now preparing for a lapse in appropriations funding for the government.

Once known as the party of fiscal conservatism, the Republicans and Trump approved a sweeping tax overhaul bill in December that will add an estimated $1.5 trillion to the national debt over 10 years. He noted that the bill is almost 700 pages long, nobody in the Senate has read it, and it will add more than a trillion dollars to the deficit.

"We'll see. If they want to stay up until 3:00 a.m., I'm happy to do it for the fiscal solvency", he said.

"This package can not have my support", she said.

Hoyer's overture comes as Republican Sen. All they have to do - I told him this at 11:00 a.m. this morning - give me 15 minutes to debate, 15 minutes to vote and we could have been done by noon. The aide requested anonymity because leadership deliberations are secret. And having tried and failed to link progress on the budget to DACA during last month's government shutdown battle, many Democrats aren't spoiling for a repeat.

The Office of Management and Budget says it is now preparing for a lapse in appropriations.

Paul used a procedural move to stall the legislation - the result of a major bipartisan budget deal - from coming up for a vote.

The pending deal must first pass the Senate, then the House and be signed into law to avoid a government shutdown. Senate rules usually typically allow a set amount of time for senators to debate legislation before voting.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of SC, among the most prominent hawks in Congress, mocked Paul on Twitter for the call to withdraw from Afghanistan, saying that would not be a good idea.

The Kentucky Republican says he came to Congress to fight deficits. "Now we have Republicans hand-in-hand with Democrats offering us trillion-dollar deficits", Paul said.

Lawmakers are facing a midnight deadline.

Paul brushed off pleas from Senate leaders. "But I would argue that it's time to vote".

"It has required concessions, sometimes painful, by both sides", said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-New York.

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In January, the U.S. government faced a three-day shutdown after the two parties could not come to an agreement on immigration issues.

That's according to Oregon Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader.

Senate passage is expected Thursday evening.

"We support funding our troops, but growing the size of government by 13 percent is not what the voters sent us here to do", the group said on Twitter.

The budget being agreed to does not include any sort of immigration reform, but Republicans have said they are willing to work with Democrats on immigration reform.

Under the bill, the Pentagon would get an additional $80 billion in fiscal year 2018 and $85 billion in fiscal year 2019, while domestic spending would grow by $63 billion in fiscal year 2018 and $68 billion the following fiscal year.

Many Republicans, whose party controls both chambers of Congress, said the military's need for funding justified the extra spending.

The White House backed the deal - despite President Donald Trump's outburst a day earlier that he'd welcome a government shutdown if Democrats didn't accept his immigration-limiting proposals.

The budget agreement is attached to a short-term funding deal that will keep the government open until March 23.

"It provides what the Pentagon needs to restore our military's edge for years to come", said Ryan.

For conservative Republicans, the budget deal, which McConnell and Schumer announced Wednesday, is too massive a spending increase.

Top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi highlighted the concerns Wednesday with an extraordinary eight-hour address, the chamber's longest in more than a century, in which she called on Ryan to take action on immigration.

The White House backs the Senate deal.

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