WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) — As the clock struck midnight, the federal government shutdown — at least for a few hours.
As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, Republican Sen. Rand Paul, of Kentucky, blocked a Thursday night vote with a procedural move to protest increased spending.
“The reason I’m here tonight is to put people on the spot. I want people to feel uncomfortable,” he said on the Senate floor.
Paul did just that – running out the clock and setting up the government for a shutdown, for the second time in 2018.
“I would argue that it’s time to vote,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.
“We’re in risky territory here,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer added.
But vote they did not, because Paul said he’s furious the Senate’s bipartisan budget deal is way too expensive.
The agreement funds the federal government for six weeks and raises federal budget caps for two years on defense and domestic spending. It also lifts the nation’s debt ceiling for a year and allocates $90 billion for areas hit by hurricanes and wildfires.
“How come you were against President Obama’s deficits and then how come you’re for Republican deficits? Isn’t that the very definition of intellectual dishonesty?” Paul said.
The bill also faced opposition in the House, but for different reasons.
Democrats want a DACA deal for so-called Dreamers, immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who put on a marathon speaking session Wednesday, wants assurances from House Speaker Paul Ryan to commit to a vote on immigration legislation, as McConnell has agreed to in the Senate.
“This isn’t about just the Dreamers, it’s about United States of America and who we are as a country,” Pelosi said. “We want a guarantee, a vote on the issue.”
“What are you afraid of? Give us a vote,” she added.
But Ryan wants the president to be on board.
“I’m confident we can bring a bipartisan solution to the floor that can get signed into law and solve this problem,” he said.
President Donald Trump called on both parties to support the deal, tweeting: “The Budget Agreement today is so important for our great Military. It ends the dangerous sequester and gives Secretary Mattis what he needs to keep America Great. Republicans and Democrats must support our troops and support this Bill!”
Sen. Rand Paul’s delay could only last until 1 a.m. Friday, Brennan reported. At that point, the Senate could finally vote, followed by the House.
After presumably getting the president’s signature, the bill would pass and the government would reopen.
If all went according to plan, that was expected to happen sometime Friday morning.