Welcome to WHAT NOW, a morning round-up of the news/fresh horrors that await you today.
This, if nothing else, will be Rand Paul’s epitaph: He always made himself heard.
It rang true yet again in the wee hours of Friday morning, as the Republican senator, dragging his feet on a bill that contained some $300 billion in new spending, delayed a Senate vote past the midnight deadline, forcing the federal government to shut down.
The senator claimed he was forcing the blockade to draw attention to a broken legislative process, and to call for a vote on his amendment to keep budget caps in place, knowing full well that would never happen.
The one-man shutdown was as pointless, self-serving, and temporary as they come. Only an hour after the shutdown began, Paul relented, and Senate passed the bill around 2 AM. Shortly before 6 AM, the House also approved the bill.
“I want people to feel uncomfortable,” Paul said late Thursday, according to The New York Times. “I want them to have to answer people at home who said, ‘How come you were against President Obama’s deficits and then how come you’re for Republican deficits?’”
Paul got his wish: He made his colleagues on both sides of the aisle despise him and his showboating methods even more, making it certain that nobody would give him the vote he craved.
As Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, put it, “Why reward bad behavior?”
Another member of his party, the retiring congressman Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, went much further, calling the exercise “utterly pointless.”
“When Rand Paul pulls a stunt like this, it easy to understand why it’s difficult to be Rand Paul’s next door neighbor,” Dent told Politico, referring to the assault by Paul’s neighbor that broke several of the senator’s ribs.
In the end, those who wanted a DREAM Act, or any semblance of protection for DACA recipients, got nothing from the bill. Rand Paul got nothing except increased hatred for himself. But at least he got to make his point.