US Congress votes through budget bill after government shutdowns

9 Feb 18

The US Congress has passed a budget deal that will keep the federal government funded, following two recent shutdowns. 

The House of Representatives approved the bipartisan budget bill by 240 votes to 186, following Senate approval.

It ends a brief shutdown of government spending and keeps the government funded until 23 March, Reuters reported.

The bill will now go to President Donald Trump to be signed into law.

It increases spending on the military and domestic affairs by $300bn over the next two years, but in the absence of tax increases of spending cuts elsewhere, will be financed by borrowing.

These provisions had been opposed by fiscal conservatives in the Republican party who objected to the deficit spending it would bring in. Democrat votes had to be secured in order for it to pass.

During the Senate debate on the bill, majority leader, Republican Mitch McConnell, applauded the additional funding for the military.

“I am confident that no senator on either side of the aisle believes this is a perfect bill. But I’m also confident this is our best chance to begin rebuilding our military and make progress on issues directly affecting the American people,” he said.

The shutdown last month was a result of the Democrats and Republicans being unable to reach an agreement on a spending bill for government operations and agencies.

They agreed on a short-term funding bill that would last until 8 February.

The second shutdown lasted just five-and-a-half hours but saw the stock market take a hit.

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