Sen. Rand Paul is holding up a vote on a bill that would keep the government funded in order to avert a government shutdown early Friday morning.
The Kentucky Republican explained in an interview with Fox News Thursday afternoon why he’s blocking the vote on the measure, that includes a bipartisan budget deal to lift spending caps. He’s demanding that GOP leaders allow a 15-minute vote on an amendment he crafted to maintain current spending ceilings.
“I’m not advocating for shutting down the government. I’m also not advocating for keeping the damn thing open and borrowing a million dollars a minute,” Paul said.
Paul said that he had spoken to President Trump Thursday afternoon about the situation.
‘I talked to him this afternoon,” he said. “We had a good conversation. I told him to call up the majority leader, Senator McConnell, tell him that I wanted 15 minutes to have a vote to make a point that conservatives are unhappy with this deal. All they have to do — I told him this at 11:00 a.m. this morning — give me 15 minutes to debate, 15 minutes to vote and we could have been done by noon. But nobody wants to have it pointed out what an eye sore this deal is and how obnoxious it is to conservatives to spend good money after bad.”
Paul said he’s willing to hold up the vote and shut the government down over his demands.
“We’ll see. If they want to stay up until 3:00 a.m., I’m happy to do it for the fiscal solvency,” he said.
Congress is aiming to prevent a government shutdown on Friday by passing a new spending bill by Thursday at midnight. The House had already voted on a short-term funding measure, known as a continuing resolution (CR), earlier this week that also expired March 23, but provided a boost in funding to the Pentagon through September.
The measures will not provide a fix for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. Nor will they increase border security or provide funding for a southern border wall.
On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, announced they had reached a bipartisan two-year budget deal that doesn’t fund the government, but lifts spending limits imposed on the military and non-defense domestic programs. The deal raises those caps, which were set by a 2011 law, by about $300 billion through fiscal 2019, which ends Sept. 30, 2019.
Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, announced on the floor Wednesday that she will oppose the budget deal unless Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, commits to holding a floor vote on legislation that would protect so-called “Dreamers.”
CBS News’ Alan He contributed to this report.
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