Congress passes $1.3 trillion spending bill, funds government through September

The bill funds the government through September 30, 2018.

Posted: Mar 23, 2018 5:46 AM
Updated: Mar 23, 2018 10:43 AM

(CNN) Early Friday morning, the Senate passed a $1.3 trillion spending package that will increase funding for the military and domestic spending and will keep the government funded through the end of September, sending the legislation to the President for his signature house ahead of a midnight deadline.

The Senate passed the bill after a whirlwind day where at least two Republican senators held up the legislative process and made it appear unclear whether the bill could pass ahead of the deadline. The bill passed 65-32, averting a potential government shutdown and funding the government through September 30.

The House passed the legislation earlier Thursday, voting 256-167 with Democrats and Republicans coming together to pass it less than 24 hours after the 2,300-page bill was made public.

The Senate needed unanimous consent -- meaning all members have to agree -- to bring the bill up for a timely vote. If one member objects, it could force the government into a brief shutdown, which is why many congressional observers were watching Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, who forced a brief shutdown last month using a similar procedural maneuver.

On Thursday, Paul spent hours criticizing the bill and the process by which the legislation is made public and passed, and appeared to live-tweeting as he scanned the measure.

"Page 430 of 'crumni-bus: Good news. The government is going to "earn" $350 million by selling oil from Strategic Petroleum Reserve," he tweeted. "Bad news is the $ won't go to reduce the $21 trillion debt. The $ will be instead be spent elsewhere by the Federal government."

Earlier Thursday, Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell when the Senate would vote -- he smiled and said in front of reporters, "whenever Sen. Paul decides we can."

But Paul said Thursday night that Senate leadership should reach out to him if they want to speed the process along.

"It's just the way the rules are," he told CNN's Phil Mattingly. "I mean, they will eventually beat me. Time will run out and they will eventually win but if they'd like to do it in a more expeditious fashion, all they've got to do it call me."

Paul said he was open to "compromise" but did specify what that would entail, but shortly after he spoke with CNN, Paul and McConnell spoke, a Paul spokesman said.

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