Rand Paul holding up vote to keep government open

Government Funding Lapses While Congress Looks To Vote On Budget Deal

OnPolitics Today: And hours to go before I shut down

"I'm not advocating for shutting down the government", Paul said.

But even that outcome is far from certain amid the chaos that's forced a second, at least momentary, government shutdown in the past three weeks. He complained the new budget accord would drive up federal deficits - but didn't mention that he backed a $1.5 trillion tax bill in December that added red ink that was multiples larger than this week's spending agreement.

Mr Paul later tweeted "Tonight, you could feel the frustration and embarrassment growing in Congress as we exposed the hypocrisy of Republicans who are joining in an unholy alliance and spending free-for-all with Democrats at the expense of the American people and our party's supposed principles". In a feisty speech from the Senate floor, he demanded a vote for an amendment he is pushing that would restore budget caps that the spending deal seeks to lift. A final vote would follow.

Under federal law, passage of the measure is enough to call off the shutdown; Trump is expected to sign the measure as soon as he receives it.

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

However, that was an hour after authorization for the federal government to spend money expired. "We could have done 40 amendments", Paul said.

The breakdown came largely in the Senate, when after a day of inaction, Republican Sen.

But House Republican leaders said the package would be approved, possibly before the start of the work day. The aide requested anonymity because leadership deliberations are secret. It comes on the heels of a hard week for the Trump Administration.

Earlier in the day on February 8, the Office of Management and Budget said it was "currently preparing for a lapse in appropriations". At one point, the number two Senate Republican, John Cornyn, R-Texas, tried repeatedly to schedule votes ahead of the midnight deadline.

If the House approves the deal, the government would have reopened before the workday begins.

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, announced on the floor Wednesday that she will oppose the budget deal unless Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, commits to holding a floor vote on legislation that would protect so-called "Dreamers".

The Kentucky Republican says he came to Congress to fight deficits.

"We ought to have a debate on this", said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA).

Lawmakers are facing a midnight deadline. There was still significant doubt about whether it would muster enough support to pass in the House of Representatives where a coalition of conservatives and liberals had united in opposition.

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Poverty advocates and labour leaders said the timeline is too slow, when low-wage workers need help now. Premier John Horgan is scheduled to make an announcement about B.C.'s minimum wage this morning.

He said without McConnell granting him a vote on the bill, his options were limited.

"It has required concessions, sometimes painful, by both sides", said Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer.

The budget deal that passed only funds the government for another six weeks, meaning if lawmakers can't work out a longer term deal in that time, the government could face a third shutdown.

That's according to Oregon Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader.

House Democrats left a closed-door meeting on Thursday deeply divided over a path forward.

But Republican Senator Rand Paul raised concerns about United States debt and blocked a speedy vote on the bill, insisting the chamber vote on his amendment to set strict budget caps.

Activists have staged large-scale protests and sit-ins demanding Democrats take a stand on immigration, only to be disappointed when they fail to force a vote on immigration legislation.

When combined with the nearly $300 billion in new spending for defense and non-defense accounts, the hurricane aid brought the package to nearly $400 billion.

With Paul standing just a yards away, he said the delays could continue "if we want to go for theater" but said the bill would pass notwithstanding.

In January, the government shut down for three days.

The Trump administration signalled it expected the shutdown to be short, calling it a "lapse".

Many Democrats are outraged that the spending deal would give away leverage on immigration issues, as it's not clear if a DACA solution would advance without firmer commitments from GOP leaders.

"This budget deal is a genuine breakthrough", Schumer said, adding the agreement would "break the long cycle of spending crises".

Approval of the measure in the Senate seemed assured - eventually - but the situation in the House remained dicey.

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