A second US government shutdown in three weeks went into effect on Friday at midnight, after Senator Rand Paul stalled the vote on a federal funding deal. The bill was finally approved by 2 a.m. and sent to the House.

Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill Photo credit: Wikipedia

The US government shut down on Friday for the second time in three weeks after the Senate failed to meet a deadline to approve a federal funding agreement.

Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky delayed the vote with a long speech, in which he expressed his frustration with the fact that the budget deal would increase the deficit. “How come you were against President Obama’s deficits, and then how come you’re for Republican deficits?” Paul told his fellow Republican Senators. “Isn’t that the very definition of intellectual dishonesty?”

Just before 2 a.m., the Senate passed the legislation by a majority of 71-28 before sending it to the House of Representatives. If the House approves it quickly, the shutdown will only have lasted a few hours.

After the January 20 shutdown, US President Donald Trump, who has a Republican majority in both houses of Congress, blamed the Democrats. “Tonight, they put politics above our national security, military families, vulnerable children, and our country’s ability to serve all Americans,” he said.