House, Senate pass massive budget increase; vote to end gov’t shutdown

The U.S. Capitol in Washington on Thursday night, Feb. 8, 2018. The Senate passed a budget deal and spending measure to reopen the shuttered federal government early Friday morning, sending the bill to the House. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

 – The Washington Times

The House approved a stopgap bill early Friday to keep the government open and to boost spending by about $300 billion over the next two years, acting swiftly after the Senate voted hours earlier to ensure that the government shutdown that began at midnight would be short-lived.

The House voted 240-186 to keep the government open for another six weeks, which will allow lawmakers to start filling in the lines of a massive two-year deal that lifts strict spending caps on defense and non-defense spending and suspends the debt ceiling for 13 months to allow for more borrowing.

Democrats cheered a big increase in domestic spending, while Republicans praised an even bigger surge in defense money.

“First and foremost, this agreement accomplishes getting the resources that we need to rebuild our military,” said Speaker Paul D. Ryan, also pointing to money for items like disaster relief and combating the opioid epidemic.

Individual lawmakers, meanwhile, pointed to a slew of goodies tucked into the bill for their home states, such as tens of billions of dollars in disaster relief for Texas and special protections for dairy farmers that will benefit Vermont.

“First and foremost, this agreement accomplishes getting the resources that we need to rebuild our military,” said Speaker Paul D. Ryan, also pointing to money for items like disaster relief and combating the opioid epidemic.

Individual lawmakers, meanwhile, pointed to a slew of goodies tucked into the bill for their home states, such as tens of billions of dollars in disaster relief for Texas and special protections for dairy farmers that will benefit Vermont.

But liberals objected to the lack of action to protect young illegal immigrant “Dreamers,” with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reiterating her call Friday morning for a freewheeling debate on the issue.

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