The US government narrowly avoided being shut down for the second time in three weeks after the Senate finally backed president Trump’s budget in an 11th hour vote last night.
The US endured a three-day shutdown in January following the previous impasse on signing off government funding.
Hopes for a quick decision this time around were dashed after rebel Republican senator and former presidential candidate Rand Paul repeatedly blocked proceedings, demanding a vote on his amendment to impose tight spending caps.
The deadline for the vote was midnight (EST), when funding officially ran out – but despite pressure from fellow Republicans, Paul kept senators in the chamber until 1.45am until the budget was finally passed.
“The reason I’m here tonight is to put people on the spot,” said Mr Paul, according to the New York Times. “I want people to feel uncomfortable. I want them to have to answer people at home who said, ‘How come you were against President Obama’s deficits and then how come you’re for Republican deficits?’”
He added: “I think the country’s worth a debate until 3 in the morning, frankly.”
However, Democrat senator Brian Schatz later tweeted: “Rand Paul voted for a tax bill that blew a $1.5 trillion hole in the budget. Now he is shutting the government down for three hours because of the debt. The chance to demonstrate fiscal discipline was on the tax vote.”
The House of Representatives has also now approved the deal in a last-minute vote just a few hours before government workers would have been told to stay at home.