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Congress ends 5 1/2-hour government shutdown with budget vote

By in Press Enterprise on February 9, 2018

By Associated Press The Capitol Dome of the Capitol Building at sunrise, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, in Washington. After another government shutdown, congress has passed a sweeping long term spending bill which President Donald Trump is expected to sign later this morning. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

By ANDREW TAYLOR
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The House moved swiftly early Friday to reopen the federal government and pass a $400 billion budget deal, overcoming opposition from both liberal Democrats and tea party conservatives to endorse enormous spending increases despite looming trillion-dollar deficits.

The 240-186 vote came in the pre-dawn hours, putting to bed a five-and-a-half hour federal freeze that relatively few would notice. Many who did quickly labeled it a pointless, head-scratching episode. The shutdown was the second in three weeks.

The breakdown came largely in the Senate, when after a day of inaction, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky went rogue and stalled a vote in protest over his party’s willingness to bust the budget. But Democrats also had their divisions and wrangling, largely with liberal upset the measure were not tied to any plans to assist the “Dreamer” immigrants.

Most Democrats opposed the measure, following the lead of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who tried and failed to use the moment to secure a promise for a separate vote on immigration. Up to the final minutes, it was not clear the bill would pass and many Democrats held their votes, allowing the tally to creep slowly and giving no indication which way it might fall.

House Speaker Paul Ryan urged Congress to avoid a “second needless shutdown in a matter of weeks — entirely needless.”

There was far less drama in the Senate, where the measure sailed through by a 71-28 tally. President Donald Trump has promised to sign the bill into law.

The White House was forced to order the government shutdown […]    

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