passed the enormous spending bill early Friday morning after a brief government shutdown.Update: Congress
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) took to the Senate floor on Thursday evening to slam Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress for "spending us into oblivion." The firey speech was part of Paul's effort to postpone a budget vote until after midnight.
Paul stopped speaking shortly before 7:30 p.m. as the Senate entered a brief recess, but returned to continue speaking at 8 p.m. Meanwhile, the White House told executive branch agencies to prepare for a shutdown, according to Politico.
The three-week continuing resolution passed on January 18 will expire at midnight. Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate were prepared to vote on a two-year budget that will annihiliate existing spending caps and increase the discretionary budget by about $400 billion, but Paul asked Senate GOP leaders for a chance to offer an amendment reinstating those spending caps. The nature of his speech on the Senate floor suggests that Paul's request was denied.
Paul slammed Republicans and Democrats for agreeing to a budget that independent analysts say will result in a $1 trillion deficit.
"A country cannot go on forever spending money this way," said Paul. "What you are seeing is recklessness being passed off as bipartisanship."
The budget deal would remove limits on military spending imposed by the 2013 sequester would be removed, allowing the Pentagon to receive an additional $80 billion this year and $85 billion next year. Other lids on the discretionary budget would be similarly lifted, allowing for billions of new spending on infrastructure, public health, and disaster aid.
Paul lashed his own party's leaders, saying that Repulicans "are the conservative party" only when Democrats are in power. "When Republicans are in power, there is no conservative party," he added.
A spokesman for Paul did not give a clear indication if Paul's speech was intended to run until, or past, the midnight deadline for passing the budget bill. It's possible we are seeing a sequel to Paul's 2013 filibuster against the re-appointment of John Brennan as CIA director. Paul said he was prepared to speak "until 3 in the morning," if it would force a debate on the federal budget.
As of this moment, Paul is still speaking on the Senate floor. Watch it here.
*This story has been updated.