Good morning! Surprise: We had another government shutdown, but it’s all over now. There’s a pretty good chance you slept through the whole thing.
Here’s what happened:
Congress has been debating how to move forward after the last government shutdown, which was ended with a deal Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) put together to fund the government through February 8 (last night) at midnight.
The House had passed a continuing resolution to fund the government and avoid a shutdown, but Senate Republicans needed to add several provisions — including increased disaster relief provisions for Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico — in order to secure enough votes to pass it. Senate leadership thought all seemed well and prepared to vote on their bill Thursday afternoon, giving enough time to kick the bill back to the House for them to vote on the revised version well before the midnight deadline.
Enter Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).
Paul took to the Senate floor to voice his objections to the bill and the overall issue of wasteful government spending, and invoked a Senate procedure that essentially allowed him to force the vote to be delayed by several hours — thereby missing the midnight deadline and throwing the government into another shutdown.
This did not endear Paul to his fellow Senate Republicans, who may not have disagreed with his remarks on principle, but objected to his timing and methods.
The Senate gaveled back in and shortly after 1:00 pm ET, approved the procedural vote to allow the bill to proceed, and then voted to approve the bill itself. Paul voted no on both measures, but both votes had a comfortable margin to pass and no changes were made.
The bill then headed back to the House, so they could approve the Senate version. Just after 5:30 am ET, the House voted for the bill 240-186, with 73 House Democrats joining the Republican majority in supporting the bill.
The bill, which funds the government through March 23 and the military for an additional year, now heads to President Donald Trump’s desk. His signature will officially end the shutdown, and he is expected to sign the bill.
Remember: the reason we have government shutdowns is because Congress is stupid and can’t follow their own budget rules.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.