Brief Government Shutdown Ended by Massive Budget Agreement

I woke up to the news that the Federal government had shut down for the second time in a few weeks. Thankfully, the impasse was resolved in time for me to report to work as normal.

CNN (“Congress votes to reopen government, passes massive budget deal“):

Congress approved a major budget deal early Friday morning, ending a brief government shutdown overnight and sending the measure to the President for his signature.

The House of Representatives voted 240-186. The GOP-controlled chamber needed help from House Democrats to clear the bill, and 73 Democratic members gave it. Sixty-seven House Republicans voted against the plan.

The colossal bill, which lawmakers have been negotiating for months, is a game-changing piece of legislation, clearing the decks for Congress in dealing with major spending issues as well as doling out disaster relief money and hiking the debt ceiling which was set to be reached next month.

The Senate approved the measure earlier on Friday morning. The federal government briefly shuttered for the second time in less than a month overnight, after Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul prevented the deal from passing Thursday ahead of a shutdown deadline.


Just how many Democrats would come on board was a key question up until the final moments, as liberals were unhappy about the bill not addressing immigration and conservatives oppose the increased spending.
After the vote succeeded in the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell kept his word to move to open an immigration debate next week. The majority leader moved to call a vote Monday to proceed to an unrelated House bill that will serve as a vehicle for a process unlike the Senate has seen in recent memory, where senators will be able to offer a number of amendments that are competing immigration proposals to see which ones will secure the 60 votes needed to advance. But that will only happen if the House passes the continuing resolution later Friday morning.
WaPo (“Government shutdown set to end as House passes sweeping budget bill“):

Congress moved to end a five-hour government shutdown early Friday morning after the House narrowly voted to support a massive bipartisan two-year budget deal that stands to add hundreds of billions of dollars in federal spending on the military, domestic programs and disaster relief.

The 240-to-186 House vote came just after 5 a.m., about three hours after the Senate cleared the legislation on a vote of 71 to 28, with wide bipartisan support.

But action did not come soon enough to avoid a brief government shutdown — the second in three weeks — thanks to a one-man protest from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who delayed the Senate vote past midnight to mark his opposition to an estimated $320 billion addition to the federal budget deficit.

The shutdown was so unanticipated that the Office of Management and Budget didn’t tell federal agencies to prepare for it until Thursday evening. But the closure is likely to end up being brief and having only slight impact on federal workers and the public. President Trump has indicated he will sign the legislation.

The bill would reopen the government while showering hundreds of billions of dollars on defense and domestic priorities, speeding disaster aid to hurricane-hit regions, and lifting the federal borrowing limit for a year. While the legislation sets out broad budget numbers for the next two fiscal years, lawmakers face yet another deadline on March 23 — giving congressional appropriators time to write a detailed bill doling out funding to government agencies.

Still, lawmakers’ inability to keep open the government underpinning the world’s largest economy pointed to acute legislative dysfunction that has paralyzed Congress and forced the government to operate on one short-term spending bill after another since the fiscal year began Oct. 1.

As a technical matter, the government remains shut down until the president signs the bill. But it’s 6:34 and I have received no instructions indicating that we’re going to implement the silly shutdown procedures.

FILED UNDER: US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.