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Budget Tag

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) became the fourth Republican senator to voice his support on a resolution to block President Donald Trump's border wall emergency declaration. Paul wrote at that he "cannot support the use of emergency powers to get more funding." At a GOP event, Paul told the audience that he cannot "vote to give the president the power to spend money that hasn’t been appropriated by Congress."

On Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul succeeded in blocking a vote on the so-called Budget Deal (which we discussed thusly Wednesday). In so doing, the federal government shut down at 12:01 AM. An hour and a half later, the Senate invoked cloture, voted on the huge spending deal reached by both parties Wednesday evening, passing the bill with a vote of 71-28 (without bothering to debate it). Just before dawn it passed the House and heads to Trump for signature.

Wednesday afternoon, Senate Minority Leader Schumer announced the Senate had come to a budget agreement. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the deal “a significant bipartisan step forward.” The agreement keeps the government open for six weeks and provides two years of massive spending hikes.

UPDATE: A cloture vote to end debate in the Senate on the funding bill passed by the House failed. So we're heading to "shutdown" unless there is a last minute deal reached. As a reminder of how Obama weaponized the 2013 shutdown, see my post Flashback to when Obama weaponized 2013 government shutdown. 60 votes were needed, and it fell 10 short. 5 Democrats voted Yes: Donnelly, Heitkamp, Manchin, Jones, McCaskill. 4 Republicans voted No: Graham, Paul, Lee, Flake.

It's unclear at this point whether there will be a short-term budget deal, or a government "shutdown." Despite the drama, a shutdown is not really a shut down. Essential services continue. It's more of a scale-back, and the government has a lot of discretion as to what gets scaled back. In a press conference today OMB Director Mick Mulvaney made the point that many agencies have reserve funds that can be used, but weren't used in the 2013 shutdown.

*UPDATE* Senate has also passed the stopgap spending bill, sending it to President Donald Trump's desk. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a two-week spending bill that will beat the deadline of a government shutdown.

Senate Republicans released its 2018 budget, which includes terms to allow the lawmakers to push through tax reform through budget reconciliation. This would protect them from a Democratic Filibuster. The plan gives tax writers until November 13 to submit tax reform plans.

Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Bob Corker (R-TN), two members with opposing views on fiscal policy, have announced "a path forward on tax reform" that "would allow for a tax reduction, as scored on a statistic basis, over a 10-year period." They hope to Senate Budget Committee will vote on said plan next week. The senators did not release any details about the plan, but new outlets have stated it will allow tax reductions up to $1.5 trillion. The Wall Street Journal reported that the "agreement would allow Republicans to lower tax rates while making fewer tough decisions on what tax breaks to eliminate to help pay for the cuts."

What a shock. The Illinois legislature has once again missed its spring deadline to pass a budget even though the state owes $14 billion to unpaid bills. From ABC 7:
Knowing the Governor Rauner would veto a budget that included tax increases, House Democrats left town without voting on a Senate-passed budget. The governor said all along he would only sign a budget with tax increases if it included reforms like workman's comp or a property tax freeze, two things Democrats have passed but the governor said the bills don't go far enough. "The majority of the House has shown no interest in any real changes to the system but I hope we can work something out with senators and then all of us together, Democrats and Republicans, put pressure on the House majority so they aren't just loyal to their political positions, they actually want to do things that are good for the people of Illinois," Governor Rauner said. "I believe we can get there, we just got to stay persistent."

Last week, Louisiana passed a resolution calling for a Convention of States as described in Article V of the U.S. Constitution. The resolution passed on May 25 with a vote of 62-36, making Louisiana the eighth state to call for a meeting of the states for the purpose of proposing constitutional amendments addressing abuses by the U.S. Federal Government. Other states that have called a Convention of States for the same purposes are Florida, Georgia, Alaska, Alabama, Tennessee, Indiana, and Oklahoma. Increased national interest in a Convention of States (COS) is due largely to the government's failure to operate as the Framers envisioned. Having accrued a national debt of over $19 trillion and a debt-to-GDP ratio of 105%, the government's size and scope has grown far beyond anything the Founders could have imagined. Meanwhile, the states, having created the Federal Government, find themselves acting at the mercy of Washington's limitless regulations and outstretched tentacles, lest they lose federal sacred funding.