Here’s what’s in the bill that caused a five-hour shutdown

Rand Paul "wanted attention and he got attention."
February 9, 2018, 12:54pm
Getty Images

While America slept Friday, its government shutdown for the second time in less than a month. By morning, the drama was over.

In two early morning votes, the Senate and the House passed a sweeping spending bill that will drastically increase military and non-military spending by $300 billion, but fails to address the immigration issue currently roiling Donald Trump.

The bill passed amid criticism from both parties. GOP lawmakers decried the rise in spending, while Democrats bemoaned the lack of protection for young immigrant “Dreamers” facing deportation.

The initial vote in the Senate was delayed by an objection from one lawmaker — Republican Sen. Rand Paul, the libertarian deficit hawk.

The Kentuckian lectured his colleagues about fiscal responsibility late into Thursday night, deliberately delaying the vote until 1 a.m. Friday morning — one hour after government funding had officially expired.

“He wanted attention and he got attention. That’s it,” Republican Sen. James Inhofe said of Paul’s theater, reported by Bloomberg. Democratic Sen. Christopher Coons told the Washington Post Paul had “mastered the art of ticking off his colleagues.”

The Office of Management and Budget did not expect a shutdown, so only informed federal agencies to prepare for one late Thursday.


The impasse was only brief; the bill slid through the Senate and, at 5.30 a.m., passed the House. The legislation will now make its way to the Oval Office where Trump is expected to sign it.

Here’s what’s in the spending bill:

  • Military spending: The bill includes provisions to increase defense spending by $160 billion, aimed at funding overseas military and State Department operations.
  • Non-defense spending: Initially missing from the bill, Republicans conceded to Democratic pressure and included a $128 billion hike for domestic programs, including the extension of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program for the next decade.
  • Disaster relief: Part of the non-defense spending increase, the government has set aside around $80 billion for regions recently impacted by hurricanes and wildfires.
  • Infrastructure: $20 billion has been set aside to improve highways, water, wastewater, and rural broadband.
  • Opioid crisis: To tackle the growing drugs crisis in America, the government will be spending an extra $6 billion funding opioid and mental health treatment

But there is one big thing missing from the bill:

  • Immigration reform: The bill says nothing about the future of the Dreamers, who face deportation by the Trump administration. As an olive branch to Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was giving the Senate a week of floor debate to address any immigration issue that members wish.

Cover image: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) gestures toward reporters following the weekly Republican policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol October 24, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)