Fiscal hawk Paul slows United States budget deal, shutdown looms

Sen. Rand Paul R-Ky. speaks with reporters on his way to a vote on the floor of the Senate at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday in Washington D.C

Congress is on the verge of a long-term budget pact that would provide whopping spending increases to the Pentagon and domestic federal programs, overdue disaster relief money and, perhaps, legislation to increase the government's borrowing limit. "It's going to need bipartisan support".

Regardless of what happens with this broader spending deal, Congress will still have to pass a short-term stopgap measure to prevent the government from shutting down when the current stopgap funding bill expires Thursday at midnight.

All told, the Republican-controlled Congress is on track to approve about $400 billion in new spending over next two years, just months after enacting a almost $1.5 trillion tax cut.

Several Republicans, citing their continued belief in the virtue of limiting government spending, on Wednesday voiced their objections to the plan.

"This is a awful bill, substantively and symbolically, for the United States of America", said Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks. "I'm not only a no, I'm a hell no". "It's very hard to have that big of an increase in one year and then be able to use it wisely".

- $300 billion more -The temporary spending bill under consideration incorporates the major budget deal struck Wednesday between Senate leaders on both sides of the political aisle.

Bipartisan deals raised the caps in 2013 and 2015, and the new agreement is the first to be struck under unified Republican control of the White House and both chambers of Congress.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says, "We're in risky territory here".

Hours after the Senate voted, the House also approved a $300 billion bipartisan budget agreement that funds the government until March 23 - ending a five-and-half hour federal freeze that occurred in the wake of a midnight deadline.

Such amity was not on display in the House.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) previously suggested that she would oppose the budget deal because the bill did not include amnesty for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) illegal immigrants.

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She delivered the ultimatum at the top of an eight-hour stretch of remarks that broke a modern record for the longest House floor speech.

"It's the wrong thing to do because it's not consistent with what we told the American people we were going to do, and what they elected us to do", said Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. "But there's no blinking at the fact that, having reduced taxes, we now have to restrain spending", he said. "I think it's early to be having those conversations".

House Speaker Paul Ryan urged Congress to avoid a "second needless shutdown in a matter of weeks - entirely needless".

"I am taking this time because I think we have an opportunity now that is nearly matchless we are in a moment when we can all come together to do something really good for the country", Pelosi said. "None of it is pleasant because of the dollar amounts we're talking about".

The Senate delay meant more time for liberal Democrats and Republican fiscal hawks in the House to whip up votes against the bill in their chamber.

Influential conservative organizations such as the Heritage Foundation and the Club for Growth railed against the spending boost.

The starting point for final budget negotiations on what is the largest proposed budget in state history is more than a week ahead of schedule, Senate President Joe Negron said. The $3 billion annual spending on general opioid and mental health work is most likely routed through the existing grantmaking processes of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which doled out a little over a billion dollars to state and local programs seeking to address overdose deaths and pill addiction each of the previous two years. The debt limit would be suspended through March of 2019, Sanders said, putting the next vote on it safely past this year's midterm elections.

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold Johnson40 patient advocacy groups oppose "right to try" drug bill GOP eyes changes to "right to try" bill Hundreds sign on to letter opposing "right to try" drug bill MORE (R-Wis.), who presided over parts of the floor debate, said the looming shutdown was an example of the "total dysfunction" and "ridiculous" but blamed both sides.

For example, Democratic Leader-designate Kionne McGhee and others rapped the bill for having a 12-page title.

The budget deal between Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell will increase defense and domestic spending by roughly $400 billion over the next two years; the Defense Department's budget will rise by $80 billion and domestic spending will increase by $63 billion in 2018 alone.

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