The Senate has passed a two-year budget bill and sent the legislation to the House for approval in a bid to end a shutdown of the US government, the second in three weeks.
The bill, which had been held up by Republican Senator Rand Paul over objections to the impact on the national debt, was passed by 71 votes to 28 early Friday.
Lawmakers in the House of Representatives were expected to endorse the bill in coming hours and end the hours-long shutdown.
The US government technically ran out of money at the stroke of midnight.
Senate leaders and their counterparts in the House of Representatives had been working all week toward meeting the deadline to pass the 400-billion-dollar two-year budget bill, which is paired with a short-term spending bill that funds the government through March. But a vote hit a snag over Paul’s objections to hundreds of billions of dollars of additional spending included in the legislation. Paul repeatedly blocked votes on the bill in an effort to force a vote on an amendment that would keep current spending limits in place.
Speaking on the Senate floor, Paul said US taxpayers “are getting stuck with the bill” as spending levels beyond the amount of revenue are allowed. The bill, announced Wednesday, represented a rare bipartisan achievement. It includes spending for both domestic programmes and funding for the military that President Donald Trump has sought.
The bill was meant to avoid another government shutdown like the last one - a three-day closure in January. But with the clock ticking late Thursday, the White House’s budget office directed federal agencies to prepare for a lapse in funding.
-DPA, 09th FEBRUARY, 2018