Despite the best efforts of Rand Paul, Congress passes massive 2-year spending bill

It passed despite the best efforts of Sen. Rand Paul.

What's happened?

That U.S. government shut down briefly last night after no deal to keep it running had been reached by midnight.

But it won't last long, because Congress ended up passing a sweeping 2-year spending bill, which included stopgap spending bill to avert the shutdown, NBC reports.

Once signed by President Donald Trump, government employees will be allowed to resume as normal.

It passed the Senate in a 71-28 vote and the House 240-186. There were bipartisan votes both for and against the bill.

What's in the spending bill?

The bill passed by Congress provides enough funding for the next six weeks to keep the government running.

This six weeks will give House and Senate members the time to iron out the details of the bipartisan budget deal struck that will increase spending around $400 billion.

Some $300 billion of that is a raise in budgetary spending caps; caps that NPR reports were introduced in 2011 through a law championed by conservatives.

More than half of this budgets cap increase, $160 billion, will go to the Pentagon after Republican members of Congress sought an increase in military spending.

Measures sought by Democrats include an extension for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), that now guarantees its funding for 10 years, up from the previous six.

Around $20 billion is earmarked for infrastructure spending over the next two years, including on broadband, road and transportation projects, while $3 billion has been pledged to tackle the opioid crisis.

And a one-off $80 billion has been agreed to provide relief to areas of the country hit by recent natural disasters.

What's not in the spending bill?

Despite the efforts of Democrats including Nancy Pelosi in the House, the spending bill did not include any legislation to replace the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

These people brought to the U.S. from other countries as children, and are known are Dreamers, face the prospect of deportation without legal protections passed by Congress.

The Hill reports though that Speaker Paul Ryan has committed to discussing DACA legislation on the House floor soon, calling it his next "big priority."

How did Rand Paul try to scupper things?

The Kentucky senator and noted Libertarian was furious with the spending bill, describing his fellow Republicans as hypocrites for passing something that will significantly increase the national debt.

He used a Senate procedure to slow discussions on the budget deal and basically caused them to lapse beyond the midnight deadline, leading to a government shutdown that looks to have been temporary.

But he eventually had to look on as his colleagues approved a bill to increase spending above the legal limits Republicans had urged Congress to set seven years ago to reduce the deficit and rein in spending.

"When the Democrats are in power, Republicans appear to be the conservative party," Paul said on the Senate floor, CNN reports. "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."

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