The U.S Congress stumbled past a midnight funding deadline and pushed the federal government into a shutdown for the second time in less than a month.
Although the Senate had reached a deal a day earlier on a measure that would lift spending caps and raise military spending, the bill stalled in the upper chamber for hours as Kentucky Republican Rand Paul held up a vote to protest increases in the federal deficit. His Republican colleagues became noticeably more frustrated as the night wore on, accusing him of grandstanding and of wasting their time.
As the hours to pass a bill dwindled, away the White House instructed the federal government to begin preparing to halt or scale back many of its functions.
The failure to pass a budget bill on time has become a familiar sight in Washington. The government shut down for three days earlier this year as Democrats blocked a bill to try and force a compromise on immigration, and Republicans pushed the government to shutter in 2013 as part of a bid to undo Barack Obama’s healthcare law.
With the deadline hours away, Mr Paul delayed a vote with a lengthy floor speech railing against what he called out-of-control government spending. He lambasted his colleagues for abandoning their commitment to reducing the deficit and warned of bottomless spending on “perpetual war”.
“How come you were against President Obama’s deficits, and then how come you’re for Republican deficits? Isn’t that the very definition of intellectual dishonesty”? the libertarian senator said.