Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Congress managed to pass a budget deal early Friday morning after a brief government shutdown, brought to you by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul—the second shutdown in three weeks. President Trump signed the bill shortly after.

The two-year deal raises spending caps on domestic and military spending by $300 billion and lifts the federal debt limit until March 2019, according to The New York Times. It keeps the federal government funded for six weeks, so we can all come back together and do this again in a little under two months.

Here’s what you need to know.

Why Did Rand Paul Shut Down the Government?

Paul was protesting adding hundreds of billions to the federal deficit, and wanted a vote on an amendment to maintain budget caps, which leaders refused. In a wide-ranging speech on the Senate floor Thursday, Paul blasted government waste, particularly from the National Science Foundation and expenditures in Afghanistan. It’s unclear why this deficit-increasing bill angered Paul so much when he voted for the recent tax bill, which is estimated to increase the deficit by around $1.4 trillion over a decade.


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What’s in the Bill?

The budget is more of a rough outline, and breaks down into roughly $165 billion for the military and $131 billion for the domestic side of things: funding for abstinence-only education, $6 billion for grants for research and preventative programs to combat the opioid crisis, and more than $80 billion in disaster relief for Florida, Puerto Rico and Texas.

Perhaps because lawmakers realized they shouldn’t use children’s health insurance as a bargaining tool, at least for a little while, it also extends Children’s Health Insurance Program funding for an additional four years (meaning CHIP will be funded for a decade after Congress agreed to a six-year extension at the end of January). Lawmakers will work out more of the exact spending details (in other words, actually write the legislation), and will vote again at the end of March.

The deal does not address immigration, which angered some Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who made headlines Wednesday speaking on the House floor for more than eight hours about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program, and voted against the bill. Dems wanted legislation “ensuring protections for young illegal immigrants known as Dreamers as part of any budget measure but Republicans refused,” Reuters reports. “Instead, they have pledged to hold a separate immigration debate in Senate this month.”

Fiscal conservatives objected to the level of spending. “With the passage of this spending package, I fear Republicans have ceded our moral authority to lead our nation away from eventual national insolvency. I cannot in good conscience support it,” said Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling.

Fortunately, the deal preserves a special tax break for race horse owners and motor sport entertainment complexes. So while young immigrants may need to continue to worry about their futures in the U.S., all the middle-class race horse owners can rest easy tonight.



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