U.S. Congress passes sweeping budget bill to end brief shutdown
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (C) leaves the Senate floor after the Senate passed a budget measure in Washington, Feb. 9, 2018. The U.S. Congress early Friday morning passed a two-year budget measure that combines a short-term spending bill, ending a brief partial government shutdown that began at midnight. (Xinhua/Ting Shen)
WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Congress early Friday morning passed a two-year budget measure that combines a short-term spending bill, ending a brief partial government shutdown that began at midnight.
The measure was passed in a 240-186 vote in the House of Representatives, overcoming opposition from Democrats as well as some Republican fiscal conservatives who demanded inclusion of the immigration fix in the bill. The measure had been passed by the Senate earlier 71-28.
It now goes to U.S. President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it into law to end the brief partial government shutdown that began at midnight when lawmakers missed a funding deadline.
Senator Rand Paul on Thursday night blocked the Senate from a vote on the budget measure, saying it will add further debt and fiscal deficit.
His action forced the chamber to miss the funding deadline at midnight and led to the hours-long shutdown.
The budget package, supported by Trump and agreed to by leaders from both Republican and Democratic parties, will increase defense and non-defense spending by about 300 billion U.S. dollars for the next two years, and raise the debt ceiling through March 2019.
By lifting spending caps, the budget will increase defense spending by 80 billion dollars for the current fiscal 2018 which ends on Sept. 30, and 85 billion dollars for fiscal 2019. Non-defense spending will increase by 63 billion dollars for fiscal 2018 and 68 billion dollars for fiscal 2019.
It also includes some bipartisan programs, such as 90 billion dollars of disaster assistance.
A short-term spending bill, combined into the budget measure, will fund the government through March 23.
This will give the Congress time to work out a detailed spending bill that will fund the federal agencies until Sept. 30 under the framework set by the budget measure.
According to estimates by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the budget measure will add 320 billion dollars to deficits over a decade and push the deficit in 2019 to 1.2 trillion dollars.[ Editor: Zhang Zhou ]