Trump signs spending bill, ending short shutdown

The White House

The two negotiated a budget agreement that marks a major breakthrough for a Congress still reeling from a partial government shutdown last month.

The House and Senate approved a bill to keep the government funded through March 23, overcoming opposition from liberal Democrats as well as tea party conservatives to endorse enormous spending increases despite looming trillion-dollar deficits.

"I can't in all good honesty, in all good faith, just look the other way because my party is now complicit in the deficits", Paul said on the Senate floor hours before the chamber voted.

Politicians had hoped to approve a funding plan before the midnight deadline (5am Friday UK time). "It's going to need bipartisan support", the Wisconsin Republican said.

But the libertarian, failed 2016 GOP presidential contender and "wacko bird" - a moniker an angry Sen. Paul, who has said he was blindsided, suffered broken ribs in the November attack and developed pneumonia.

Though the bill ends a short government shutdown, the fate of immigration legislation is unclear. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., pledged on the House floor early Friday morning that he also meant to address immigration. The House will likely immediately take up the Senate's bill.

But the bill's path through the House could prove dicey.

The agreement would increase the government's borrowing limit to prevent a first-ever default on USA obligations that looms in just a few weeks.

It was unclear which agencies would close on Friday if the shutdown continued into the working day.

Trump, who said earlier this week he would "love" a government shutdown, later signaled his support for the bipartisan deal.

Pence is in South Korea, where he is leading the USA delegation to the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said it was pleasing that Congress has been able to meet the Trump administration's defence spending requirement and come together on a two-year spending bill.

President Trump signed the bill on Monday morning, successfully ending the shutdown.

But some House Democrats, led by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, insisted they would vote against it unless they get assurance from Ryan to commit to a vote on immigration legislation. The Senate planned to hold votes in the middle of the night and send the budget deal and temporary spending measure over the House by dawn. Her vote came after she spoke on the House floor for eight hours Wednesday, reading story after emotional story about DREAMers who aspire to become US citizens.

"The Budget Agreement today is so important for our great Military", Trump wrote in a Wednesday tweet.

"All Senator Rand Paul is asking for is a 15-minute vote on his amendment to restore the budget caps", Paul's spokesman, Sergio Gor, said in an email Thursday. Many were sheepish or even angry about the bushels of dollars for Democratic priorities and the return next year of $1 trillion-plus deficits. However, the effects of the shutdown are expected to be minimal given that it started and is expected to finish with Trump's signature before most of the federal workforce arrived at work Friday morning.

US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 presidential campaign using hacking and propaganda, an effort that eventually included attempting to tilt the race in Trump's favour.

Pence is set to lead the USA delegation to the opening ceremonies of the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday evening.

Paul's protest forced Congress to miss a midnight deadline for passing a funding measure to keep the government operating.

Included in the bill was a roughly $300 billion increase in spending for defense and non-defense programs over the next two years, another $90 billion in disaster-relief funding for places like Texas and Puerto Rico, and extensions to parts of the tax code and programs in Medicare.

The bill passed anyway - and Paul must have known that it would, regardless of his efforts - but that doesn't change one thing: He was completely right.

Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland says Democrats would support such a move. Rand Paul's repeated attempts to block the vote.

"You know, if Trump is smart he will try to move to the center and make deals with Democrats", said Jim Kessler of the center-left advocacy group Third Way.



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