Congress narrowly passes bipartisan budget measure, ending US govt shutdown

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer D-N.Y. left and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell R-Ky. walk to the chamber after negotiating an agreement in the Senate on a two-year almost $400 billion budget deal that would provide Pentagon and domest

A Senate vote on a budget deal to keep the government open was expected early Friday morning - but the funding measure would still need to be passed by the House.

President Donald Trump is making the case on Twitter for electing more Republicans to Congress after signing a $400 billion spending plan.

The Paul-driven shutdown was initiated by his insistence that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell grant him a vote to amend a budget deal that includes $300 billion in new spending.

A single Republican senator had held up passage of the budget bill Thursday, forcing the brief government shutdown, to underscore his fear that increasing spending by hundreds of billions of dollars would explode America's already rising federal deficit and add to the nation's more than $20 trillion national debt.

Many Democrats support the budget deal, but were unhappy with the compromise because it doesn't tackle immigration - specifically addressing the plight of DREAMers, including the roughly 700,000 immigrants who are in the USA illegally after being brought to the country as children and who are enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which is set to expire on March 5.

In the early hours of Friday, the U.S. federal government shuttered for the second time in less than a month as Kentucky Senator Rand Paul prevented the deal from passing on Thursday night ahead of a shutdown deadline.

The Kentucky Republican explained in an interview with Fox News Thursday afternoon why he's blocking the vote on the measure, that includes a bipartisan budget deal to lift spending caps.

The US House of Representatives joined the Senate early yesterday in approving a Bill to end an overnight federal shutdown, sparing Republicans further embarrassment and averting serious interruption of the government's business. The bill McConnell chose was unrelated to immigration, after he had said he planned to use a separate bill for the debate.

"If you were against President Obama's deficits, and now you're for the Republican deficits, isn't that the very definition of hypocrisy?"

The military will get a staggering $700 billion in funding in fiscal 2018, an $80-billion increase from its previous level under the sequestration. Essential personnel would remain on the job regardless, and it appeared possible - if not likely - that the measure could pass both the Senate and House before most federal employees were due to report for work. "Rand Paul voted for a $1.5 trillion hole in the budget".

Lawmakers will then have to pass appropriations legislation for both the current fiscal year that ends September 30 and the following year. The House could vote by roughly 6 a.m., ET, on Friday. "We could have done 40 amendments", Paul said.

The budget Bill raises military and domestic spending by nearly US$300 billion (S$399 billion) over the next two years.

In this image from video from Senate Television, Rand Paul speaks on the floor of the Senate.

Despite the support of their Senate leader Chuck Schumer, who says the budget accord will "break the long cycle of spending crises", some Democrats have complained that the bill does not address immigration.

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



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