Late Thursday night, the Federal Government shut down for the second time in 2018.
The reason? The objection of a single senator, Senator Rand Paul.
Why? According to Paul, the federal government has been borrowing one million dollars every minute to remain open. Also, Paul alleged that this number has been steadily increasing and is nearing two million dollars per minute.
Paul took to the floor to discuss the budget, at 6 p.m. eastern time. According to CNN, “virtually every one of his Republican colleagues grimaced. Five years ago, they would have cheered him. Paul’s speech, which slowed attempts to pass a massive budget deal before the government shuts down at midnight, was a savaging of his party — a party that appears to have turned 180 degrees from the deficit hawks of the mid 2010s who insisted that government spending was ballooning out of control and was crippling the country.”
In the Obama-era, Republicans made clear – their goal was to shrink the government and the budget. The GOP Presidential debates focused around reducing the deficit and slashing spending. That is, every candidate except President Trump. Trump’s budget views caused 2012 GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney to say, “His tax plan in combination with his refusal to reform entitlements and honestly address spending would balloon the deficit and the national debt.”
Trump went on to win the election, and the deficit has not been the focus of his administration.The government, which has been funded with a series of stopgap budget plans, was set to run out of funding at midnight. “On Wednesday Senate leaders Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer finally made a breakthrough: a budget deal that included wins for both parties. The spending caps Congress enacted in 2011 would be raised by $296 billion through 2019.” Republicans could rejoice, that the budget kept the Pentagon funded with a spike of $160 billion, and Democrats got to keep $128 billion for domestic programs.
All of this led to Paul coming to the Senate Floor to discuss the budget. “When the Democrats are in power, Republicans appear to be the conservative party,” Paul said at one point. “But when Republicans are in power, it seems there is no conservative party. The hypocrisy hangs in the air and chokes anyone with a sense of decency or intellectual honesty.”
As Paul spoke, Rep. Charlie Dent (PA-R) told Politico, “When Rand Paul pulls a stunt like this, it easy to understand why it’s difficult to be Rand Paul’s next door neighbor. The whole delay and filibuster exercise on the budget agreement is utterly pointless.”
Following this comment, hundreds of comments along the same lines flooded Twitter.
The incident being referenced was when Paul’s neighbor Rene Butcher attacked Paul causing five rib fractures, including three displaced fractures, and later required medical attention for pneumonia. Paul told “Face the Nation” that in the weeks following the assault, he felt as though he was in a “living hell.”
Paul’s Chief Strategist Doug Stafford said when reached for comment, “I guess some people think felony assault, six broken ribs and other internal injuries are funny. That makes them pretty disturbed.”
“What you’re seeing is recklessness trying to be passed off as bipartisanship,” Paul said last night. “The reason I’m here tonight is to put people on the spot, I want people to feel uncomfortable. I want them to have to answer people at home who said, ‘How come you were against President Obama’s deficits, and then how come you’re for Republican deficits?”
Before sunrise, Congress approved the budget, thus opening the government. It brings a two-year spending pact that will let lawmakers spend $300 billion more than the current law allows. President Trump signed the bill into law this morning.