House OKs budget deal, ending shutdown


The White House is preparing for the second United States government shutdown in three weeks, after the budget deal negotiated by Republicans and Democrats was delayed in the Senate.

It will fund the government for six more weeks, raise federal budget caps for two years and lift the nation's debt ceiling for a year.

The Senate voted early Friday morning, before sending the bill to the House where its future was less certain.

"The Office of Management and Budget is now preparing for a lapse in appropriations".

Government funding lapsed just after midnight on Thursday evening after Sen. Paul, spitting mad at the bill's big spending increases, delayed the vote for hours with a demand to vote on his amendment that would restore the same budget caps his colleagues want to do away with.

That agreement includes a $300 billion increase to both military and non-military spending limits for this year and 2019 and raises the debt until 1 March next year.

The temporary spending bill under consideration incorporates the major budget deal reached between Senate leaders on both sides of the political aisle.

The bill was expected to pass, but vote counts remained unclear Friday morning.

Senators struggled with last-minute objections from Republican Rand Paul, but have now passed the bill, which has gone to the House for its vote.

After an all-night session of debating and voting, the bill ending the shutdown finally won House passage only after Democrats provided enough votes to offset the opposition of 67 Republicans, a remarkable rebellion in the party's ranks.

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"We do support the two-year spending bill", White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters at the daily briefing.

"I want people to feel uncomfortable", Paul said.

"It was pretty much a smorgasbord of spending and policy that got added to this, and so, you know, normally people who eat at smorgasbords all the time are not the healthiest", Rep. Mark Meadows, the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said Thursday. Rand Paul, refused to allow a speedy vote.

However, Senate leaders anxious that if Paul was able to introduce an amendment other senators would make a similar demand, and with the government shutdown looming, a full-blown amendment process seemed out of the question. It contains $89 billion in disaster relief aid for Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Texas and Florida.

Many Democrats oppose the budget proposal because it does not address the immigration issue, and the protections for illegal childhood arrivals (DACA) set up by the Obama administration are set to expire on March 5.

"No one would suggest it is flawless but we worked hard to find common ground", said Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell.

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.

Pelosi has faced enormous pressure from immigration activists and progressive lawmakers in her caucus to take a hardline for Dreamers, the young undocumented immigrants who could lose protections from deportation under a program that Donald Trump has rescinded.

The Republican Party was once known for fiscal conservatism, but congressional Republicans and Mr Trump are now quickly expanding the USA budget deficit and its $20tn national debt.