Federal government shuts down for second time in a month

Lawmakers are working to reopen the federal government after its second shutdown in less than a month.

Just before 2 a.m. EST, senators passed a massive, bipartisan budget agreement and spending bill.

The 71-28 vote easily overcame objections from Republican fiscal conservatives who say the bill marks a return to unchecked deficit spending.

The bill stalled in the Senate Thursday night when one of the opponents, Sen. Rand Paul, refused to allow a speedy vote, protesting its likely contribution to budget deficits that are soon to top $1 trillion.

Paul’s protest forced Congress to miss a midnight deadline for passing a funding measure to keep the government operating.

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, D, Hawaii voted against the measure. She said in a statement:

“Throughout the debate on government spending, I have consistently supported efforts to fund critical domestic priorities without pitting groups against one another.

“A lot of hard work and compromise went into this budget deal, which includes a number of provisions I strongly support. However, Dreamers were left out of the bill to allow this deal to go forward.

“I voted against this legislation because Dreamers are not included in it.

“An overwhelming majority of the public supports legislation to protect Dreamers, and Democrats will be fighting hard for them during the upcoming debate on immigration.”

The bill now moves to the House, where it faces a tougher battle.

House GOP leaders said they were confident they had shored up support among conservatives for the measure, which would shower the Pentagon with money but add hundreds of billions of dollars to the nation’s $20 trillion-plus debt.

House Democratic leaders opposed the measure, arguing it should resolve the plight of Dreamers.

Essential government functions will continue regardless.

When the government shut down last time, some Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard workers were furloughed.

A union leader tells us either way, workers will have to report to work on Friday.

Parts of Hawaii Volcanoes and Haleakala national parks had to close.

Visitors should check the park’s website before heading over. It will be updated with the latest information if operations are affected.

Stay with KHON2.com for updates.

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