Senate passes bill to end shutdown, sending it to House

Senate passes bill to end shutdown, sending it to House
© Getty

The Senate cleared a budget deal early Friday morning after Congress missed a deadline to prevent the second government shutdown in less than a month.

Senators voted 71-28 to pass the agreement after Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulCheney's decision not to run for Senate sparks Speaker chatter Juan Williams: Counting the votes to remove Trump Mitch McConnell may win the impeachment and lose the Senate MORE (R-Ky.) delayed the legislation past midnight, sparking a brief partial closure.

The House is expected to vote on the measure later Friday morning. Passage is not assured, as Democrats are demanding a commitment from Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanWarren now also knocking Biden on Social Security Biden alleges Sanders campaign 'doctored video' to attack him on Social Security record Sanders campaign responds to Biden doctored video claims: Biden should 'stop trying to doctor' public record MORE (R-Wis.) for a vote on immigration. A number of conservative Republicans are also expected to oppose the bill.

The latest notice from Rep. Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Cheney's decision not to run for Senate sparks Speaker chatter Trump welcomes LSU to the White House: 'Go Tigers' MORE's (R-La.) office predicated a vote to occur "very roughly" between 3-5 a.m. on Friday.

The deal includes new budgetary ceilings for two years that would increase spending on defense and nondefense programs. It raises the debt ceiling until March 2019 and provides more than $89 billion in relief for a spate of recent hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters.

The bill also includes a stopgap measure that, if it passes the House, would allow the government to quickly reopen and be funded through March 23.

ADVERTISEMENT

The White House Office of Management and Budget said late Thursday that it had directed federal agencies to prepare for a lapse in funding as the budget deal stalled in the Senate.

The middle-of-the-night floor drama comes after Paul derailed what was expected to be a relatively smooth path for the budget deal in the Senate, prompting backlash from his GOP colleagues.

The libertarian-leaning Kentucky Republican demanded a vote on an amendment that would keep lower budgetary ceilings in place, preventing an increase in spending.

"I have been offering all day to vote. I would like nothing more than to vote. But it's the other side. It's the leadership that has refused to allow any amendments," he said. 

Leadership said giving into Paul's demand would risk a wellspring of similar requests from senators on both sides of the aisle.

"Frankly, there are lots of amendments on my side, and it's hard to make an argument that if one gets an amendment, that everybody else won't want an amendment, and then we'll be here for a very long time," said Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocratic senator blasts 'draconian' press restrictions during impeachment trial Feds seek 25-year sentence for Coast Guard officer accused of targeting lawmakers, justices Clinton: McConnell's rules like 'head juror colluding with the defendant to cover up a crime' MORE (D-N.Y.), pleading with Paul from the Senate floor to speed up the vote.

As Paul rejected pleas from Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump admin releases trove of documents on Ukrainian military aid The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions What to watch for on Day 2 of Senate impeachment trial MORE (Ky.) and other GOP senators that he end his protest, leadership appeared to dig in against his request for a vote on his amendment.

"I don't think shutdowns work for anybody. The Schumer shutdown didn't work, and I don't think this is going to work either," Sen. John CornynJohn CornynDemocrats worry a speedy impeachment trial will shut out public Sunday shows - All eyes on Senate impeachment trial Cornyn disputes GAO report on withholding of Ukraine aid: It's 'certainly not a crime' MORE (Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican, said after Paul rejected several of his requests to speed up the vote.

Asked if they would cave to Paul's demands, he added "why reward bad behavior?" and noted that there were no ongoing negotiations between Paul and leadership staff.

Instead, senators began to trickle back to the Capitol after midnight and eventually approved the deal after 1 a.m.

In the House, leaders began the day sounding confident that they had the 218 votes need to send the bill to President TrumpDonald John TrumpRouhani says Iran will never seek nuclear weapons Trump downplays seriousness of injuries in Iran attack after US soldiers treated for concussions Trump says Bloomberg is 'wasting his money' on 2020 campaign MORE's desk.

“I feel good. Part of it depends on the Democrats. This is a bipartisan bill. It’s going to need bipartisan support,” Ryan told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Thursday morning.

But as Paul's delaying tactics dragged into Friday morning, opposition in the House, particularly among Democrats, seemed to be on the rise. Rep. G.K. ButterfieldGeorge (G.K.) Kenneth ButterfieldHouse poised to hand impeachment articles to Senate Democrat makes case for impeachment in Spanish during House floor debate Democrats likely to gain seats under new North Carolina maps MORE (D-N.C.), former head of the Congressional Black Caucus, estimated that fewer than 40 Democrats would support the bill.

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Health Care: Justices won't fast-track ObamaCare case before election | New virus spreads from China to US | Collins challenger picks up Planned Parenthood endorsement Why Senate Republicans should eagerly call witnesses to testify Trump health chief: 'Not a need' for ObamaCare replacement plan right now MORE (D-Calif.) sent Ryan a letter on Thursday evening reiterating Democrats' demand for a vote on a fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program regardless of whether Trump supports it. 

The program allows certain immigrants who came to the United States illegally as children to work and go to school in the country. It is being phased out beginning in March and has been at the center of talks on government funding this year.

Ryan will need to rely on dozens of Democrats after the House Freedom Caucus, which consists of roughly 30 conservative members, took an official position against the package because of fiscal concerns.

In a sign that leadership expected the vote in the House to be tight, sources told The Hill on Thursday evening that Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisLawmakers push back at Pentagon's possible Africa drawdown Overnight Defense: Book says Trump called military leaders 'dopes and babies' | House reinvites Pompeo for Iran hearing | Dems urge Esper to reject border wall funding request Trump called top military brass 'a bunch of dopes and babies' in 2017: book MORE was calling members urging them to support the agreement.

The agreement increases defense spending by $80 billion in fiscal 2018 and by $85 billion in fiscal 2019, while raising nondefense spending by $63 billion and $68 billion in those years, respectively.

But fiscal hawks had balked because most of the roughly $300 billion isn't paid for. 

Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksRepublican group asks 'what is Trump hiding' in Times Square billboard Conservative group hits White House with billboard ads: 'What is Trump hiding?' Trump takes pulse of GOP on Alabama Senate race MORE (R-Ala.) quipped earlier this week that he's "not only a 'no,' I'm a 'hell no.' "

In the Senate, Paul's tactics represented just the latest time he's frustrated his party's leaders.

In 2015, he and other privacy-minded senators banded together to force a temporary shutdown of National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs.

During the heated floor fight, Paul used his leverage to kill off McConnell’s repeated attempts to reauthorize the expiring NSA programs — first for two months, then for eight days, then for five, then three, then two.

But this time, Paul largely found himself standing alone as he tried to force his party to reckon with the budget deal's impact on the deficit.

"When Republicans are in power, it seems there is no conservative party. ... The hypocrisy hangs in the air and chokes anyone with a sense of decency or intellectual honesty," he said. 

His maneuvering drew backlash from GOP senators who argued that his forced temporary shutdown wouldn't keep the Senate from ultimately passing the budget deal. 

Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisProgressive group launches campaign targeting vulnerable GOP senators on impeachment Senate braces for bitter fight over impeachment rules Juan Williams: Counting the votes to remove Trump MORE (R-N.C.) told Paul that he needed to "build a coalition" and "make a difference." 

“You haven't convinced 60 senators or 51 senators. Go to work, build a coalition, make a difference. You can make a point all you want. But points are forgotten," he said. 

Cornyn added: "I think people understand this is the act of a single senator who is just trying to make a point but doesn't really care too much about who he inconveniences."