Senate Passes Spending Bill; House Takes Up Measure Next

Sen. Rand Paul briefly speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday Feb. 8

Afghan war will cost B in 2018 House passes stopgap spending measure with defense money MORE (R-Wis.) to consider legislation protecting immigrants who came to the country illegally as children.

The House passed Tuesday a bill that would require lawmakers to pay for sexual harassment settlements out of their own pockets instead of using office funds.

Should Paul stand his ground, Senate rules dictate that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can declare a new session at midnight, then hold a procedural vote on the spending bill one hour into the new day.

On the other hand, the Senate might respond with a long-awaited spending pact to give whopping increases to the Pentagon and domestic programs.

The deal had been expected to sail through the Senate, and the House had planned to vote on it later Thursday, until Paul took his stand.

If passed, the short-term spending bill would be the fifth extension passed by Congress as both sides of the aisle struggle to find common ground and fully finance the United States government with a bipartisan budget.

The New York Times also reported the budget cap for military spending would be raised by about $80 billion in FY 2018 and $85 billion in FY 2019.

As she was leaving the Senate floor Friday night after the Senate voted to pass a budget deal and fund government into March, Maine Republican Sen.

Schumer said of the deal in a floor speech: "The budget deal doesn't have everything Democrats want, it doesn't have everything the Republicans want, but it has a great deal of what the American people want".

"I'm not advocating for shutting down the government".

The legislation also would authorize the energy department to make sales from the nation's strategic petroleum reserve, extend financing for community health care centers for two years and make modifications to medicare, such as repealing a payment cap for therapy services.

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.

Republicans are eager to keep spending and immigration separate. That effort could delay a Senate vote until 1 a.m. Friday, past the deadline for keeping the government open.

Still, Democrats protested that the bill doesn't include a solution for America's so-called "Dreamers" - the illegal immigrants brought here when they were young. Only 73 Democrats voted for the bill; 67 Republicans voted against it.



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