Partial US Government Shutdown Begins
A partial shutdown of the U.S. government commenced early Saturday after a funding bill was blocked in the Senate. Spending authority expired at midnight Washington time, triggering a halt of non-essential functions.
Senators resume debate Saturday afternoon on a temporary spending bill that would fund the government through February 8. Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin, however, objects to the continuing series of temporary spending bills, saying it "simply kicks the can down the road and fails to get the job done for the American people."
On Friday, a handful of Republicans joined all but a few Democrats in opposing the funding bill, which needed three-fifths backing to advance in the 100-member chamber.
The outcome set off furious discussions among senators on and off the chamber floor, seeking a last-gasp bipartisan deal to restart the flow of federal funding.
The White House responded immediately to the failure to reach a funding agreement. It said in a statement that the Senate Democrats are "obstructionist losers" and blamed them for what it called the "Schumer Shutdown," accusing legislators of valuing illegal immigrants ahead of lawful Americans. The statement said "When Democrats start paying our armed forces and first responders we will reopen negotiations on immigration reform."
Attacker of U.S. Senator Rand Paul Charged with Federal Assault
A Kentucky man accused of attacking U.S. Republican Senator Rand Paul has been charged with assaulting a member of Congress, but has told investigators his actions were not politically motivated.
Officials say Rene Boucher plans to plead guilty to the assault as part of a federal plea agreement.
Boucher’s attorney says the attack stemmed from a dispute about yard maintenance. He said Boucher became angered by branches and yard clutter that were on the property line and “had enough” after seeing Paul stack more brush on the pile.
Paul was wearing headphones while mowing his yard in Bowling Green, Kentucky, when Boucher ran into his yard in November and tackled him. The assault left Rand with six broken ribs and briefly sidelined him during the Senate debate over tax reform. Assaulting a member of Congress and causing injury is a federal felony.