Rand Paul Is Preventing Vote On Bill To Avert Shutdown

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GOP Whip John Cornyn may have spoken too soon…

With less than ten hours left for both the Senate and House to pass a bill to extend financing for the federal government, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is – once again – forcing a delay by objecting to certain spending levels.

The Congressional Budget Office just ruled that the spending deal would increase the deficit by $24.3 billion by 2022.

Paul has played the role of antagonist in the past, memorably back in late November when the GOP voted to pass a $4.5 trillion budget as a precursor to unlocking the reconciliation rules allowing Republicans to pass the Trump tax cuts through the senate with a simple majority vote.

…Meanwhile, Senate leaders have yet to begin procedural votes that were expected to begin nearly an hour ago…

…and they can’t say when that vote is expected to take place, because Paul – as Cornyn put it – “has concerns he wants to be able to voice.”

Once again, it appears the bipartisan deal struck between Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell was too much, too soon. As part of the deal, the two agreed to extend funding through March 23 while lifting spending caps that were imposed as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (the famous sequestration bill) while tentatively working out a two-year budget deal that would increase both domestic and military spending, provide money for disaster relief, combating the opiate crisis and – oh yeah – raising the debt ceiling. The Treasury’s emergency measures are expected to be tapped out early next month.

As we noted earlier, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi is refusing to support the deal struck by her fellow Congressional leader because she wants to force a vote on an immigration bill to preserve DACA protections – the subject of a historic 8-hour-long speech on the House floor yesterday.

In a letter to her Democratic colleagues today, Pelosi accused Speaker Paul Ryan – who says he won’t call for a vote on DACA without Trump’s approval – of “demeaning the dignity of the House” and defying the will of the American people.

In the Senate, Democrat Elizabeth Warren is also balking at passing the spending bill without voting on an immigration deal. And the House Freedom Caucus

Without another extension – what would be the fifth since September – funding for the Federal government will run out at 12:01 Friday morning.

Meanwhile, the House Freedom Caucus is still trying to kill the deal struck by the Senate leaders.

Keep in mind, the Senate hasn’t started their procedural votes yet. Once the bill passes the Senate, the bill will need to pass through the House Rules Committee before it can be brought to the floor for a vote…

With markets spiraling lower again Thursday, the budget process is rapidly transforming into a “damned-if-they-do-damned-if-they-don’t” situation, because if it passes and widens the deficit…