Shutdown Deadline Looms as Rand Paul Blocks Spending Bill, Including Disaster Relief

by | Feb 8, 2018

The midnight deadline for the next government shutdown is rapidly approaching, and the likelihood of the spending bill successfully passing seem dim, as Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is currently on the Senate floor blocking a vote.  You can watch his remarks live on C-SPAN or online here.

Paul is denouncing the spending bill as “intellectual dishonesty” and hypocrisy from the Republicans, who were previously opposed to budget deficits under President Barack Obama but seem to have lost their ability to object now that they have power.

Florida’s Senators, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), have both voiced their support for the disaster relief provisions in the bill to help Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico recover from last year’s hurricanes, and are expected to vote for it.

According to Bay News 9, disaster relief in the bill includes the following:

  • $2.36 billion to provide disaster assistance for Florida citrus growers and other farmers.
  • $2.7 billion for schools impacted by recent disasters, including schools in Florida dealing with an influx of 12-thousand new students from Puerto Rico.
  • $15 billion for Army Corp projects including the Herbert Hoover Dike that protects thousands of Floridians who live around Lake Okeechobee from catastrophic flooding.
  • $2 billion to help Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Island rebuild and improve their electric grids.

Paul has acknowledged the need for this disaster relief, but asked why the money couldn’t be shifted from somewhere else.  “A country cannot go on forever spending this way, and what you’re seeing is recklessness being passed off as bipartisanship,” he said.

Another of Paul’s major objections to the bill has to do with the ongoing failure to reduce our growing national debt, and he questioned the priorities of some spending items, including sending money to countries who haven’t been the best allies.

“Instead of nation building abroad, why don’t we build our nation here at home?” asked Paul.

We should “quit sending [money] to countries that burn our flag and chat ‘death to America,’” he added.

Paul also criticized the bill for being over 700 pages and no amendments allowed. No one is reading the bill, and it’s been presented as take it or leave it.

“Well, you know, I’m going to leave it,” said Paul.

Paul also made several of the points I made in a RedState post last month: the underlying problem is that Congress has repeatedly failed to follow their own budget rules.

At the time this post was written, less than five hours remains before the next shutdown deadline. Stay tuned!

UPDATE: The deadline passed and the government officially went into shutdown. The Senate has gaveled back in and will conduct another vote in the early hours of Friday morning.

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker

[Adapted from a post at RedState.]


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