This post has been updated.
Due primarily to a series of stalling maneuvers by Sen Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the government shut down for the second time in the last month at midnight. The Senate ultimately voted 71-28 to pass a budget deal in the early morning hours Friday, and the House passed the measure with significant Democratic support to reopen the government before the shutdown actually took effect.
Most observers expected the budget deal, which increases government spending and lifts debt caps the Republicans fought bitterly to install in 2011, to pass before the Thursday midnight deadline. But Paul took to the floor to object to a number of unanimous consent motions, forcing a series of lengthy roll call votes on ordinary procedural matters, in order to highlight what he called the fiscal irresponsibility of the plan.
During the course of his objections, Paul harshly criticized his Republican colleagues in unflinching language, repeatedly referring to them as hypocrites and warning that “a day of reckoning is coming.”
As a result of Paul’s objections, the Senate vote was delayed until after the midnight funding deadline, and the government shut down. Afterward, Paul took to Twitter to explain his crusade:
Make no mistake, I will always stand up for fiscal responsibility, regardless of which party is in power, and I will continue to call the Republican Party home to the ideas that led to Americans trusting us with government in the first place.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) February 9, 2018
Paul’s frustrations with the fiscal profligacy of the budget deal is shared by many conservatives in the House — enough that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was scrambling early Friday morning to lock in some Democratic votes to ensure passage of the funding package.
Throughout the day Thursday, Ryan attempted to apply public pressure on House Democrats to vote for the package, although House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has publicly stated that she will not vote to reopen the government without legislation to grant DACA recipients permanent legal status in the United States.
However, Pelosi promised yesterday that she would not pressure other Democrats to vote against the bill, thus clearing the way to allow Democrats in vulnerable districts to vote for the measure.
The measure finally passed by a final vote of 240-186 after over 60 Democrats crossed over to vote “yes” on the measure. A roughly equivalent number of Republicans voted “no.”
According to Fox News, an Office of Management and Budget spokesman indicated that if the funding measure passed before government offices open in the morning, the government would open on schedule and there will be no effects from the shutdown.