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US Congress votes to end brief government shutdown

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

world Updated: Feb 09, 2018 23:47 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
US shutdown,US Congress,US government
The shutdown, which started at midnight, was the second this year under the Republican-controlled Congress and US President Donald Trump, who played little role in attempts by party leaders earlier this week to head it off and end months of fiscal squabbling.(Reuters)

President Donald Trump on Friday signed into law a two-year budget deal that significantly boosts spending on defence and domestic programmes, ending an hours-long shutdown of the federal government.

“Just signed Bill,” the president tweeted. “Our Military will now be stronger than ever before. We love and need our Military and gave them everything — and more. First time this has happened in a long time. Also means JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!”

The federal government had shut down for five hours after Congress failed to meet the midnight deadline. The Senate passed the bill, delayed by opposition from some Republicans, at 1:30 am. The House of Representatives passed it at 5:30 am and the president announced at around 8:40 am that he signed it .

The passage of the budget will end short-term fundings of the federal government than came with the threat of shutdown, which had been leveraged by Democrats to seek concessions from the Republicans, who control both chambers of Congress, specially on immigration.

The deal, which passed with boosts to spending by $300 billion on defence and some domestic programmes with an additional $90 billion in support of disaster-hit states.

The bill was passed earlier on Thursday by the Senate in a bipartisan vote with the support of many Democrats. The House passed it on Friday morning in a more partisan vote that laid open their differences, specially in light of the upcoming debate on immigration reform next week as both parties will seek a middle ground that advances the cause of undocumented immigrants who came to the United State as children.

As budget negotiations were underway on Wednesday, Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the House of Representative, had spoken uninterrupted and without a break, for eight hours about these immigrants, also called Dreamers or beneficiaries of DACA (an Obama-era protection from deportation — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), reading out individual stories as written by the immigrants.

The budget deal got rolling after Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell promised a debate on DACA in the chamber next week, which will not likely enjoy the same kind of bipartisan support the budget got in both chambers.

The temporary shutdown was caused by a delay in the vote caused by Republican Senator Rand Paul, a fiscal hawk who opposed the deal saying it added to the deficit. “I can’t in all good honesty, in all good faith, just look the other way because my party is now complicit in the deficits,” Paul said on the Senate floor in a speech.

First Published: Feb 09, 2018 16:46 IST