Breaking news…a government shutdown is all but certain to happen in less than an hour.
The deadline to avoid a government shutdown is midnight Eastern Time tonight. The House previously passed a continuing resolution and it headed to the Senate. Senate leadership announced earlier this week they had reached a budget deal — including the disaster relief provisions necessary to get support from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and others in the Congressional delegations from Texas and Florida — and expected to be able to vote on their version of the bill and send it back to the House, but Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) objected and blocked the vote.
There were efforts earlier this evening to bring Paul back on board, but they failed. According to a top Senate Republican aide with knowledge of the negotiations who spoke to RedState on condition of anonymity, Paul was offered a budget point of order by Senate Republican leadership, which would have allowed him to discuss the bill and propose stripping any provisions to which he objected.
Instead, what Paul wanted was an actual amendment to the bill itself. This was rejected on the grounds that it would have opened up the bill negotiations to a flood of amendments from Senators of both parties, and drive the bill off the shutdown cliff anyway. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has no interest in giving away amendments like Oprah gives away cars.
Just a short time ago, the Senate went into recess until 12:01 am ET. They will reconvene for a middle of the night vote, but the deadline will have passed and the shutdown will have officially begun.
Our source tells us that Senate Republicans are hopeful they can reach a deal and get a vote on this bill at some point in the wee hours of the morning, and thereby avoid any real effects from the shutdown. Stay tuned!
UPDATE: The midnight deadline has arrived. Our government is in shutdown again.
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[Note: this post has been updated to more accurately reflect how the votes on the various versions of this bill occurred.]