Senate breaks budget impasse, paving way for government to reopen

Lawrence Kim
January 23, 2018

After an intense weekend when the federal government went into a partial shutdown, Democrats in the U.S. Senate have agreed to join Republicans in voting to approve a temporary spending authorization which will keep the government funded until February 8. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY and U.S. Representative for Illinois's 4th congressional district, Luis Gutiérrez, said they were prepared to compromise on President Trump's proposed border wall in order to secure protections for the young undocumented immigrants who fell under the protection of DACA.

US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) walks back to his office after voting for a continuing resolution and end a three-day government shutdown on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 22, 2018.

Senate Democrats joined in approving a Republican leadership plan to provide funding for government agencies through February 8 - with a promise from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to work toward a bipartisan compromise on immigration, border security, and a broader budget outline before that new deadline.

The House will need to vote on the measure in order for the bill to go to President Donald Trump to sign. Before the government can reopen the Senate must vote on final passage, the House must approve in turn, and President Donald Trump must sign the measure.

Trump's negotiations with Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer collapsed on Friday into recriminations and fingerpointing and the deal to reopen the government was cut without him.

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell said his party meant to consider legislation "that would address Daca, border security and related issues, as well as disaster relief".

Senate Democrats had hinged their support for any spending bill on DACA's renewal.

Notably, numerous Democrats who voted against the agreement included a litany of potential 2020 presidential candidates including Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Elizabeth Warren.

McConnell says the end to the standoff shows "the American people didn't understand" why Democrats shut down the government because they wanted to help "illegal immigrants". Democrats climbed onboard after two days of negotiations that ended with new reassurances from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that the Senate would consider immigration proposals in the coming weeks.

Republicans in turn said they would not negotiate on immigration until Democrats gave them the votes needed to reopen the government.

Why did the government shut down?

Many moderate Democrats in states Trump won in 2016 cited the CHIP funding as a primary reason for their support of the deal.

But in a signal to Democrats, McConnell committed on the Senate floor to addressing immigration in timely fashion. They don't want to do it but are powerless!'

"I'm confident that we can get the 60 votes in the Senate for a DACA bill".

Essential federal services and the military were operational Monday, but even active-duty troops will not be paid until a deal is formally sealed.

Immigrant activists were upset Schumer and the Democrats - who'd vowed to fight until a DACA deal was done - had backed down so quickly. "We will make a long term deal on immigration if and only if it's good for the country".

"For the first time, we have the majority leader move off of we can only move something if the President agrees", Flake told reporters.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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