To avoid another government shutdown, Congress needed to pass a budget deal before midnight EST. While Senate leaders previously announced a two-year budget deal had been reached, Sen. Rand Paul stalled the vote on the bill that would boost military spending, address certain domestic priorities, and increase the debt limit, though doesn’t address immigration issues surrounding the Dreamers.
The Senate would have had to pass the budget deal first, according to ABC News, before it could have made its way to the House.
Paul’s actions stopped an immediate consideration of the bill, which would keep the government operational until March 23 and address two-year funding for specific programs, in an effort to force a vote on an amendment.
Both some Republican and Democrat members of Congress had reservations about the deal, even though Senate leadership came to an agreement.
The Republicans were largely concerned about an increase to the budget deficits while Democrats objected to the lack of a solution regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which protected young illegal immigrants, known as Dreamers, who were brought to the US by their parents before the age of 16.
The two-year budget deal included provisions for lifting caps on defense and non-defense spending to the tune of $300 billion over the course of two years. It also allocated $6 billion to help fight the opioid crisis, $4 billion for veterans’ medical facilities, $20 billion to supplement infrastructure programs, and more.
Part of the deal also included the raising of the debt limit into 2019, an effort to avoid the risk of default.
While some members of Congress initially believe the bill would pass, many were openly opposed.
Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, was one of the budget deals most vocal opponents.
“I’m just telling people why I’m voting the way I’m voting,” said Pelosi as she explained that she intended to vote against the bill. “Many of our priorities are in the bill. But I have an unease with it and hope that the Speaker will man up and decide that we in the House can also have what Mitch McConnell guaranteed in the Senate: a vote on the floor [on immigration].”
The last government shutdown was ended after a short-term compromise was reached that funded the government through February 8, partially on assurances that the Senate would address immigration issues before the new deadline.