Published: Mon, February 12, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

U.S. gov't shuts down at midnight after Senate recess

U.S. gov't shuts down at midnight after Senate recess

Some fiscal conservatives bemoaned the fact that such huge spending increases without offsetting cuts runs counter to the long-standing claim that Republicans are the party of fiscal responsibility.

Federal financing for U.S. government agencies ceased at midnight after Congress failed to pass a bipartisan budget deal that would have prevented this year's second shutdown from happening.

Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus oppose passage of the bill without language addressing DACA, and the Congressional Black Caucus has expressed "very serious concerns" about it. That all changed when Paul grabbed the spotlight and began blasting the more than 600-page deal he bet no one had read, that would raise caps on spending this fiscal year and the next by about $300B.

It also extends the USA government's borrowing authority until March 2019, sparing Washington politicians hard votes on debt and deficits until after mid-term congressional elections in November.

The deal passed by a Republican-controlled Congress should also finally shatter the myth that budget deficits matter to either party, since the agreement not only exceeds the limits imposed by the Congress' own 2011 Budget Control Act, but because it will also drastically increase USA public debt, which now stands at $15 trillion (€12.26 trillion). And the second, of course, is that Rand happily voted for a tax bill last December that is expected to blow a $1.5 trillion hole in the deficit.

Friday's budget deal allows for $165 billion in additional defense spending over two years that will help Trump deliver on his promise to rebuild the military.

But while many of his colleagues fumed, he had a point - at least from the point of view of traditional Republicans.

The government has been operating on funding from a series of short-term spending measures.

The Senate had already approved the bipartisan spending legislation that will extend funding to the government through March 23 and boost disaster aid funding by around $90 billion for Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico that were battered by hurricanes past year.

The stopgap funding and budget measure, approved by a 240-186 House vote, will go next to President Donald Trump.

The brief shutdown came at a sensitive time for financial markets, with world stock markets diving in the past week.

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German Felix Loch, who has won three consecutive gold medals, was in first in the last run but hit the wall and ended up fifth. The highest the US men had ever placed in the Olympics was fourth in 2002 (Adam Heidt) and 2006 (Tony Benshoof).

It also would increase the government's debt cap, preventing a first-ever default on USA obligations that looms in just a few weeks.

Essential government functions will continue regardless. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to protest the bill, delaying a Senate vote past the midnight deadline and forcing a government shutdown. Paul had harsh words for his own party. "Now we have Republicans hand-in-hand with Democrats offering us trillion-dollar deficits". But overall, the odds of the government staying open looked good. Really who is to blame?

Vice President Mike Pence's trip to the Olympics will be unaffected by a potential US government shutdown.

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

The legislative package assigns budget figures for the next two fiscal years but only funds the government until March 23.

The proposal would raise the U.S. debt ceiling until March 2019.

However, House GOP leaders said they were confident they had shored up support among conservatives for the measure, which would shower the Pentagon with money but add hundreds of billions of dollars to the nation's $20 trillion-plus debt.

These young adults were brought illegally to the country as children, mostly from Mexico.

Trump urged Congress to act before then.

Senate Republicans have pledged to hold a separate immigration debate this month.

"It spends too much money, borrows too much money, and actually we're going to bring back Obama era deficits", Paul told Fox News on Thursday. "He wanted a debate and a vote on something important", Stafford said.

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