Deal to avoid government shutdown by midnight hits snag in Congress

11 February, 2018, 05:24 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
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The US Congress moved to end a fresh five-hour government shutdown early Friday after the House voted to support a massive bipartisan budget deal that stands to add hundreds of billions of dollars in federal spending on the military, domestic programmes and disaster relief.

The House voted 240-186, with 73 Democrats and 167 Republicans voting in favor. The deal would provide the Defense Department with an additional $80 billion over the cap while the nation's domestic budget would receive a boost of about $60 billion.

And liberal stalwarts including top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi were also in revolt because the deal does nothing to protect immigrants known as "Dreamers", who were brought to the United States illegally as children, from deportation.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) delayed a Senate vote past midnight Thursday to mark his opposition to an estimated $320 billion addition to the federal budget deficit - something he called Republicans out for supporting: "If you were against President Obama's deficits, and now you're for the Republican deficits, isn't that the very definition of hypocrisy?".

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, took to the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon to announce the details of the deal.

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Paul claimed the price tag is too big, and that instead of spending more on defense, the US should withdraw from Afghanistan. The White House said in a statement that he will sign it into law, which would extend government funding through March 23.

Current funding for the government expires at midnight Thursday.

The president had until Saturday to decide whether to allow the classified material to become public after the House intelligence committee voted Monday to release it. Republicans backed releasing the memo in committee with a unanimous vote, but several said they thought it should be redacted.

No. 2 Senate Democratic leader Richard Durbin of IL, a leader in the immigration fight, said the budget pact "opens the door" for Senate votes on protecting the young immigrants.

Minority leader Nancy Pelosi delivered a record-breaking eight hour speech, demanding that the House speaker hold a vote on a separate bill.

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The massive two-year budget deal proposed by Senate leaders Wednesday raises budget caps by $300 billion in the next two years, increases the debt ceiling and offer up almost $90 billion in disaster relief for hurricane-ravaged Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. Really who is to blame?

"This agreement ensures that our armed forces will finally have the resources they need", Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas said.

"This bill represents a significant, bipartisan step forward". Talks in the Senate on such a framework appeared to intensify in hopes of an agreement this week, aides and lawmakers said, and the House GOP strategy appeared designed in part to invite the Senate to complete budget negotiations and use the temporary spending bill to advance such a budget agreement.

She said she wanted an assurance from Ryan that he would take up the issue of immigration in the coming weeks.

Democrats also experienced internal divisions, with liberals upset the measures were not tied to any plans to assist the "Dreamer" immigrants, who were brought to the country illegally as children. They say Nunes' memo is designed as a distraction from the probe, which is looking into whether Trump's campaign was in any way connected to the Russian interference. Trump said in September that he would end by March 5 former Democratic President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme that protects the Dreamers from deportation.

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