Published: Fri, February 09, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Senator Paul forces delay in voting on budget deal

Senator Paul forces delay in voting on budget deal

It seems all but certain that the non-essential operations of the government could shutter for at least a few hours overnight after Sen.

Paul faced off with Sen. The Senate recessed around 11 p.m. with plans to reconvene just after midnight. The Senate was expected to approve the stopgap bill and budget deal after 1 a.m. and send it to the House of Representatives.

Given Paul's objections, the Senate is not set to vote on the spending compromise until roughly 3 a.m. Friday. Paul refused to allow that to happen, upset that an amendment of his to restore budget caps was not being put up for a vote.

The measure - which would shower the Pentagon and domestic programs with around $400 billion in new spending - was destined for overwhelming Senate approval, no matter what Paul did. Those increases sounded alarm bells with fiscal hawks like Paul and members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, whose members announced they would oppose the deal.

Senate leaders had hoped to pass the bill early in the day but were forced to wait after Paul objected to the plan.

Under Congress' arcane ways, a broad-brush agreement to increase legally binding spending "caps" - which would otherwise keep the budgets for the military and domestic agencies essentially frozen - would be approved, then followed by a far more detailed catchall spending bill that would take weeks to negotiate.

As for Paul's famous lawn fight, federal prosecutors said last month they are seeking a 21-month prison sentence for the man they said tackled him in a dispute over a pile of brush. "I don't know why, for crying out loud; why they can't actually govern, is beyond me", Crowley lamented. It's not our responsibility to do that. "This vote is happening in the House soon".

Trump's comments were strikingly disconnected from the progress on Capitol Hill, where the House passed a short-term spending measure Tuesday night and Senate leaders were closing in on a larger, long-term pact after of a Thursday night deadline.

"If you're against president (Barack) Obama's deficits, but you're for the Republican deficits, isn't that the very definition of hypocrisy?" he boomed, adding that he wants his fellow lawmakers "to feel uncomfortable" over the impasse. Rand Paul holds up a vote on a bill to keep the government funded.

House Democrats are particularly anxious that they will lose any leverage on immigration once a spending bill is enacted.

Paul's stand came one day after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke for more than 8 hours on the House floor - the longest continuous House speech in history - urging House Speaker Paul Ryan to vow to bring to a vote a measure to address the now-rescinded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Democrats chose to take advantage of that leverage and merge immigration talks and spending negotiations after President Trump last September announced his plan to wind down DACA.

The agreement would give the Pentagon an $80 billion increase for the current budget year for core defense programs, a 14 percent increase over current limits and $26 billion more than Trump's budget request. "We are going to deliver our share of support". Gutierrez asked reporters. "They have decoupled the budgetary process from anything where we needed leverage".

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.

If the measure passes in the wee hours of the morning, the government would open in the morning on schedule, said John Czwartacki, spokesman for the Office of Management and Budget, the agency responsible for coordinating any shutdown.

The pending deal must first pass the Senate, then the House and be signed into law to avoid a government shutdown. Republicans were almost unanimous in opposing that measure in their clamor for fiscal restraint in the face of growing deficits - demands largely drowned out now in the Trump era. "I think it's the best deal we can get".

Schumer echoed the support, saying the agreement would give the federal government certainty after years of bickering.

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