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Senate, House Pass Spending Bill With Health Program Funding After Brief Shutdown


After a brief shutdown in the dead of night, the Senate passed a spending bill, which was the result of a deal reached by Republicans and Democrats to fund military and domestic programs for 2 years. The House passed the bill shortly after.

After a brief shutdown in the dead of night, the Senate passed a spending bill, which was the result of a deal reached by Republicans and Democrats to fund military and domestic programs for 2 years. The vote on the bill was delayed until about 2 am, because Senator Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, took to the floor to debate the spending increases. It ultimately passed the Senate by a vote of 71 to 28. The House passed the bill shortly after by a vote of 240 to 186.

President Donald Trump signed the bill Friday morning, officially ending the government shutdown.

Senate Republicans and Democrats had reached a deal Wednesday on a 2-year government spending bill that would fund military and domestic programs. The deal included additional funding for a number of healthcare programs, as well as an extension to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)’s funding on top of the extension that had already been put in place with the last spending bill in January.

Paul took to the floor to protest the bill, which would lift strict budget caps and increase spending. He called out the "hypocrisy of Republicans," who joined Democrats in a "spending free-for-all."

"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," Paul said.

However, the bill still passed with bipartisan support. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, took to the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon to announce the details of the deal.

“I am pleased to announce that our bipartisan, bicameral negotiations on defense spending and other priorities have yielded a significant agreement,” McConnell said on the floor of the Senate. “I want to thank my friend the Democratic Leader for joining me this afternoon, and for the productive discussions that generated this proposal.”

Among the provisions agreed upon was $6 billion to fight the opioid and mental health crisis, $4 billion to rebuild and improve veterans’ hospitals and clinics, and $2 billion for the National Institutes of Health.

McConnell tweeted:

Schumer explained on the floor that the deal increases funding for community health centers, which serve 26.5 million Americans, will help seniors who get caught in the Medicare Part D donut hole by easing the coverage gap, and extends CHIP another 4 years on top of the 6 years it was already extended by Congress in January.

“American families with children who benefit with chip will now be able to rest easy for the next decade,” Schumer said.

The bill went to the House shortly after, where it passed in a vote that took place around 5:30 am. The outcome of the House vote had also been in jeopardy after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, voiced opposition to the deal because there was no guarantee from House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, that there will be a debate over legislation to protect young immigrants who had been brought to the country illegally when they were children.

Pelosi took to the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday to speak for 8 hours and present the stories of these young immigrants, known as Dreamers. During her speech, she asked about whether or not the issue would be brought to the floor for debate, which McConnell had promised to do in the Senate, acknowledging that she wasn't asking for any guarantees about the the outcomes. "Let the chips fall where they may," she said.

Just before launching her 8-hours-long filibuster, Pelosi tweeted out:

Before the vote, Ryan did voice support for bringing the immigration to the House floor, although he did not provide a promise to do so, The New York Times reported.

"Ultimately, neither side got everything it wanted in this agreement, but we reached a bipartisan compromise that puts the safety and well-being of the American people first," Ryan said in a statement regarding the spending bill. "Once the president signs this bill into law, we will have a clear path to pursue our ambitious agenda for 2018. I am excited and eager to get back to work doing big things for this country.”

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