World Senate Passes Budget Bill to Raise Spending and Reopen Government

The Senate early Friday easily approved a far-reaching budget deal that would reopen the federal government and boost spending by hundreds of billions of dollars but only after enduring a one-man blockade by Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who had held up the vote and forced the government to close.

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(Al Drago/The New York Times)
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The House was expected to vote before daybreak, although the outcome in that chamber was less certain. If the House approves the deal, the government will reopen before the workday begins.

But Paul, a Republican, will have made his point. Angered at the huge spending increases at the center of the deal, Paul delayed passage for hours with a demand to vote on an amendment that would keep in place strict caps on spending that the deal would raise.

The shutdown came on the heels of a three-day closure brought about by Senate Democrats last month.

As midnight approached, Paul rebuffed attempts by his fellow senators to move ahead with a vote.

“I think it’s irresponsible,” said Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Senate Republican, lamenting what he described as “the act of a single senator who just is trying to make a point but doesn’t really care too much about who he inconveniences.”

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, posted on Twitter: “Rand Paul voted for a tax bill that blew a $1.5 trillion hole in the budget. Now he is shutting the government down for three hours because of the debt.”

Around 1:45 a.m., the Senate passed the measure, 71-28.

Before Paul waged his assault on the budget deal, trouble was already brewing in the House, where opposition from the Republicans’ most ardent conservative members, coupled with Democratic dissenters dismayed that the deal did nothing for young unauthorized immigrants, created new tension.

The deal would raise spending caps on domestic and military spending in this fiscal year and the next one by about $300 billion in total. It would also lift the federal debt limit until March 2019 and include almost $90 billion in disaster relief in response to last year’s hurricanes and wildfires.

Critically, it would also keep the government funded for another six weeks. The previous funding measure, which was passed to end the past shutdown, expired at midnight Thursday.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

THOMAS KAPLAN © 2018 The New York Times

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