Second US Government Shutdown In Two Weeks Run By Republicans To Begin At Midnight

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The U.S. government staggered toward another shutdown on Thursday night after Senator Rand Paul, an outspoken fiscal conservative, single-handedly delayed Senate action on a stopgap funding bill wrapped up in a massive budget deal.

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Paul engaged in an on-again, off-again speech on the Senate floor for more than nine hours, objecting to $300 billion in deficit spending contained in the bill, even as a midnight deadline approached for passage of the stopgap measure.

 

At nearly 11 p.m., the Senate declared a recess until one minute after midnight. By that time, the current spending authority for funding federal agencies will have expired, which technically would trigger a shutdown.

 

Even if the Senate changed course and voted swiftly, it appeared unlikely that the House of Representatives could act in time to prevent what would be the second shutdown of the year after a three-day partial shutdown in January.

 

The unexpected turn of events in the Senate underscored the persistent inability of the Republican-controlled Congress to deal effectively with its most basic fiscal responsibilities.

 

The White House’s Office of Management and Budget said earlier in the evening it was preparing for a shutdown if the stopgap bill did not pass on time.

 

“The Office of Management and Budget is currently preparing for a lapse in appropriations,” an OMB official said.

 

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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett

Photographs are Courtesy:  AP; Reuters

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