- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 8, 2018

Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday he will force the Senate to run the procedural clock before passing a bill to avert a government shutdown and expand spending by more than $140 billion this year.

The Kentucky Republican is demanding a vote on his call to reimpose stiff spending caps on Congress before he will consent to a vote to pass the budget deal reached by GOP and Democratic leaders.

“I can keep them here until 3 in the morning,” Mr. Paul told Fox News.

If he follows through, that would send the government into a shutdown, with current funding set to expire at midnight.

He said he spoke with President Trump earlier today and explained his position. He said he told the president that in order to come to a resolution he wants a 15-minute debate on his amendment on budget caps.

“I think we have to say, are we the conservative party or are we just like the Democrats?” Mr. Paul explained.

When asked specifically about military funding, Mr. Paul said that if the troops come home from Afghanistan they could all receive a raise from the cost saved.

Senate rules state that all members must agree to hold a vote in order to proceed Thursday. Without that consent, the vote would not take place until 1 a.m. Friday at the earliest. And it would still need House action after that.

Mr. Paul said he expects his caps to fail, with just “15 to 20” Republicans joining him.

All sides say the spending deal will pass the Senate, though its prospects in the House are trickier, with a larger group of conservatives such as Mr. Paul vowing to vote against it, combined with Democratic leaders who say they want to see action on immigration before they’ll allow government funding.

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