US govt second shutdown | Rand Paul protests budget deal
Washington, Jan 9: After Senator Rand Paul repeatedly blocked the Senate from voting on a two-year budget agreement that includes an extension of federal funding, 2018 saw the second shutdown of the US govt.
The shutdown may only last for a few hours, as the Senate is expected to pass the bill on Friday morning and send it to the House. The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) had directed federal agencies to prepare for a lapse in funding.
The Senate and the House had given Thursday’s complete focus to the two-year budget deal to prevent the shutdown. But Paul demanded a vote on an amendment to keep budget caps in place and refused to allow a procedural vote until he got it. Senate Republicans tried up until the midnight deadline to begin voting on the bill, but Paul would not relent. The Senate recessed after 11 p.m. without taking action.
Paul insisted in December he would not vote for any “budget-busting” spending bill. An estimate from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget projected the agreement would add more than $300 billion to the federal deficit over 10 years.
Meanwhile, many Republicans like Paul are concerned about the bill’s projected effect on the federal deficit. ANd speculations are that around 70 Republicans in the chamber could vote against the bill.
Democratic leadership is telling members to vote against the package. But some Democrats, especially more moderate members, are still expected to vote for the bill.