Congress votes to reopen government, passes massive budget deal

(CNN) — President Donald Trump signed a spending bill Friday morning to keep the government operating after some brief uncertainty about when he would do so.

“Our Military will now be stronger than ever before. We love and need our Military and gave them everything — and more. First time this has happened in a long time. Also means JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!” Trump tweetedafter signing the legislation.

He then tweeted: “Without more Republicans in Congress, we were forced to increase spending on things we do not like or want in order to finally, after many years of depletion, take care of our Military. Sadly, we needed some Dem votes for passage. Must elect more Republicans in 2018 Election!” He also called the bill a “big victory” for the military.

The House of Representatives cleared the measure early Friday morning in a 240-186 vote, with 73 Democratic members voting for passage.

Earlier Friday morning, the White House told reporters that the President would sign the legislation, but did not provide guidance on exactly when that would be. A senior administration official had said Trump would sign the bill before noon but was unlikely to do so before 9 a.m., when federal employees would be back at work.

A second official said White House employees were expected to come to work as usual.

The Office of Personnel Management, which manages the federal workforce, had posted an alert on its website that stated there was a “lapse in appropriations.”

Showdown early Friday morning

The colossal bill, which lawmakers had been negotiating for months, is a game-changing piece of legislation, clearing the decks for Congress in dealing with major spending issues as well as doling out disaster relief money and hiking the debt ceiling, which was set to be reached next month.

The Senate also approved the measure earlier on Friday morning. The delay in its passage began when Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul prevented the deal from advancing Thursday.

Paul took to the Senate floor several times Thursday and refused to agree to move up the time for a vote on the bill, which required unanimous consent from all senators.

In doing so, he forced the vote procedurally to occur after 1 a.m. ET on Friday, after government funding expired.

Eventually, the Senate voted for the bill and sent it to the House, where 67 Republicans in the GOP-controlled chamber voted against the plan.

What’s in the bill

The massive two-year budget deal proposed by Senate leaders Wednesday raises budget caps by $300 billion in the next two years, increases the debt ceiling and offers up nearly $90 billion in disaster relief for hurricane-ravaged Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

About $165 billion would go to the Pentagon and $131 billion to non-defense programs.

The debt ceiling will be raised by the appropriate amount until March 2019.

Exact spending would be left to the appropriations committees, but included in the funding is $10 billion to invest in infrastructure, $2.9 billion for child care and $3 billion to combat opioid and substance abuse.

 

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