February 21, 2018

Rep. Joe Crowley: House Dems not whipping votes on pending budget bill

09 February 2018, 09:21 | Christie Tate

Rep. Joe Crowley: House Dems not whipping votes on pending budget bill

Rep. Joe Crowley: House Dems not whipping votes on pending budget bill

The US government on Thursday slid toward an all-but-certain shutdown as congressional leaders appeared unable to overcome a stumbling block in efforts to pass a stopgap spending bill before midnight. After those six weeks, if lawmakers can't reach a long-term deal, the government could be facing another shutdown, yet again.

Dallas (WBAP/KLIF) - Moving forward on legislation that would end a second government shut down in 3 weeks, the U.S. Senate voted 71-28 early this morning (Friday, February 9), to pass a massive, bipartisan budget agreement and spending bill to reopen the shuttered federal government.

In doing so, Paul forced the vote procedurally to occur after 1 a.m. ET on Friday, after government funding expired.

Sen. Rand Paul says he is prepared to keep the Senate in session all night to protest a bipartisan budget deal that increases the federal deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars.

Paul claims the price tag is too big, and that instead of spending more on defense, the US should withdraw from Afghanistan. "But nobody wants to have it pointed out what an eye sore this deal is and how obnoxious it is to conservatives to spend good money after bad". "You can make a point all you want, but points are forgotten". He has that right.

On the other, it marks an abandonment of long-stated principles from those Republicans who railed repeatedly against the climbing debt and deficit during the Obama years.

"Are we to be conservative all the time or only when we're in the minority?" he said.

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The White House's Office of Management and Budget "is now preparing for a lapse in appropriations", an OMB official said on condition of anonymity, calling on lawmakers to get the measure to President Donald Trump's desk "without delay".

Hopes for a midafternoon Senate vote were dashed by Rand Paul, R-Ky., who was holding the measure up - for now - in hopes of winning a vote to reverse its spending increases. They oppose it on concerns over immigration and deficits, respectively. It also includes $6 billion for fighting the opioid epidemic, disaster-relief money, funding to fix VA clinics, $20 billion for infrastructure programs, and enough funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program to tide it over for a decade. Lawmakers there are divided along party lines and it is uncertain whether the measure will pass. The debt limit would be suspended through March 2019, putting the next vote on it safely past this year's midterm elections.

"I think we will get this done". Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has urged his members to vote for the bill. That additional spending worries some deficit-minded Republicans, and some Democrats are unhappy that immigration isn't part of the measure. "This is a bipartisan bill". Last month, 36 percent supported Democrats and 38 percent went for Republicans.

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

The new deal still does not address immigration policy, which has been a major point of contention for Democrats.

At a late afternoon meeting of House Democrats, Pelosi made it plain she wasn't pressuring her colleagues to kill the bill, which is packed with money for party priorities like infrastructure, combating opioid abuse and helping college students. "Many of our priorities are in the bill". The uncertainty was keeping the capital on edge.

The vote was the first big step in a rush to pick up the pieces of a budget and spending plan that had seemed on track hours earlier. "And we're very hopeful that in the hours ahead we'll have the budget passed and move forward with the kind of funding for our military and domestic needs in the long term". That's in addition the estimated $1 trillion added to the deficit over a decade by the Republican tax cut legislation passed in December.

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