Rand Paul blocking spending vote, says can't 'look the other way'

House Paul Ryan departs a press conference following a meeting of the House Republican caucus at the U.S. Capitol Feb. 6 2018 in Washington D.C. Ryan fielded a range of questions including funding for the federal government

House Paul Ryan departs a press conference following a meeting of the House Republican caucus at the U.S. Capitol Feb. 6 2018 in Washington D.C. Ryan fielded a range of questions including funding for the federal government

That issue led to a three-day government shutdown three weeks ago that only ended when majority leader Sen. House Democrats provided the margin, with 73 backing the bill, more than offsetting 67 Republicans who voted against it. President Trump must still sign the bill to formally end the shutdown.

It was the second shutdown this year under the Republican-controlled Congress and Trump, who played little role in attempts by party leaders this week to end months of fiscal squabbling. It also raises the country's debt ceiling that prevents a first-ever default by the federal government. The meeting resulted in the announcement of the sweeping deal that will fund the government and set spending levels for defense and nondefense programs over the next two years.

Senate leadership aides say they think they could get the continuing resolution over the Senate about an hour after the House votes - which means the earliest the House could vote is between 3 and 5 a.m.

The massive two-year budget deal proposed by Senate leaders Wednesday raises budget caps by $300 billion in the next two years, increases the debt ceiling and offers up almost $90 billion in disaster relief for hurricane-ravaged Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. "I could never ask our men and women in uniform to fight for me knowing that I had voted against them", Abraham said.

But Democrats are gearing up to use rising budget deficits under Trump and what they see as draconian immigration policies to hammer Republicans in the midterm elections when they will seek to take back control of Congress.

Democratic and Republican Senate leaders cobbled together the budget deal on Wednesday. They were wrong. Paul did not agree.

And liberal stalwarts including top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi were also in revolt because the deal does nothing to protect immigrants known as "Dreamers", who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, from deportation.

Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill said "it looked like he was clueless" while Republican Senator John Thune called the shutdown "a colossal waste of time". "I want them to have to answer people at home who said, 'How come you were against President Obama's deficits and then how come you're for Republican deficits?'"

Beyond $300 billion worth of increases for the military and domestic programs, the agreement adds $89 billion in overdue disaster aid for hurricane-slammed Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, a politically charged increase in the government's borrowing cap and a grab bag of health and tax provisions.

Representative Luis Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat, urged his party to kill the spending bill unless it also protected young immigrants who were brought to the US illegally as children and have been shielded under the soon-to-end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Rep. Patrick McHenry, the House GOP's deputy whip, said the early-morning drama and Democratic infighting was the result of a bad strategy and only served to add tension to an already freakish shutdown.

In a doom-laden speech, Senator Paul angrily charged his fellow Republicans with fiscal profligacy, accusing his colleagues of "spending us into oblivion". Rand Paul repeatedly held up votes on the budget plan, which is married to a six-week government-wide spending measure.

The budget pact does secure funding for two years for several health programs that have been in limbo.

Ryan said Tuesday he "share [s]" a commitment to solving the issue. The Democrats also want to make the immigrants eligible for citizenship or permanent residence.

The Senate has passed a massive, bipartisan budget agreement and spending bill to reopen the shuttered federal government.

"We will bring a solution to the floor, one that the president will sign", said Ryan.

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