Congress Passes Bill in Vote to End Brief Overnight Shutdown

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By on February 9, 2018 in Current Events with 0 Comments

Image of the US Capitol building in Washington, DC at night time

Updated: 2/9/2018 9:54 AM EST

The brief partial government shutdown that ensued overnight has come to an end. Congress voted on a bill early Friday morning and President Trump has now signed it so federal employees can get back to work.

It looked yesterday as though a deal had been reached, but Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) objected to the bill and prevented it from passing, insisting on an amendment that cut government spending.

“This debate could have been shortened and could have been finished by noon today had we been granted 15 minutes to have one amendment,” Paul said in a tweet.

The White House Office of Management and Budget had told agencies late yesterday to prepare for a shutdown, but said it would likely only last a few hours. Turns out that was a correct prediction.

Another Stopgap Measure

The bill that was signed includes another temporary funding measure to keep the government open until March 23. According to Politico, “…the budget package will keep federal agencies open until March 23. This will give time for the House and Senate Appropriations panels to craft a massive $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill that will fund federal agencies until Sept. 30.”

The bill also increases the debt ceiling which was expected to be hit as soon as March. This was causing the Treasury Department to use “extraordinary measures” such as borrowing from the G Fund to offset the debt limit.

Federal Employees Back to Work

The Office of Personnel Management updated its operating status shortly after President Trump signed the spending bill noting that federal employees were expected to head to work:

Employees are expected to return for work, absent other instructions from their employing agencies. Due to the enactment of a continuing resolution, Federal government operations are OPEN. Agencies are strongly encouraged to use all available workplace flexibilities to ensure a smooth transition back to work for employees (e.g. telework, work schedule flexibilities, and excused absence for hardship situations).

Legislation was introduced earlier this week to guarantee back pay to any federal employees furloughed by the shutdown. In the last shutdown, a guarantee of pay was included with the agreement ending the stalemate to ensure federal employees got paid.

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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.

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