Senate Averts Shutdown, Sends Government Spending Bill to President Trump

Voting on Senate Floor

The Senate approved a stop-gap funding bill on Thursday, sending the spending bill to President Donald Trump to sign, averting a government shutdown.

The Senate approved the government spending bill 66-32, funding the government until January 19. The House approved the spending bill earlier on Thursday.

Congress approved their legislative business for the new year, with Republicans passing the historic Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Wednesday.

A coalition of progressive Democrats voted against the spending bill because the government funding legislation did not have amnesty for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) illegal aliens.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) asked, “Congress could show some courage and protect dreamers by passing a clean DREAM Act. We have waited too long already. … So my question to Senator McConnell is this: What are you waiting for?”

The government funding bill includes short-term funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which helps low-income children obtain health insurance.

The stop-gap legislation also waives the pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) provision in the Budget Act that would have cut Medicare after Republicans passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The bill also extends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) program.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), a member of the House Freedom Caucus, said, “We need to keep FISA off the bill.”

A bipartisan group of senators, including Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Pat Leahy (D-VT), opposed long-term reauthorization of FISA in a statement on Thursday.

“Congress should not vote on any long-term reauthorization of Section 702 until both the House and Senate have fully debated meaningful reforms in 2018,” the senators declared.

Sen. Paul also wanted to keep the PAYGO rules in the government funding bill. However, the Senate shot down the Kentucky senator’s motion to keep the PAYGO rule on Thursday 91-8.

Paul tweeted ahead of the Thursday night vote, “Calling all conservatives, libertarians, and anyone who believes in limited government: call your legislatures and say don’t exceed the budget caps.”


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