Monday, January 22, 2018

WE'VE GOT A DEAL: Government Shutdown Looks Set to End as Democrats Surrender
 Bob Bryan
Business Insider

The Senate cleared a procedural hurdle to move forward a funding bill to reopen the government.
The deal was reached after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell committed to bring to the Senate floor a bill to codify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The House will need to vote on the funding measure for it to go to President Donald Trump to sign.

The Senate cleared a key procedural hurdle on a deal to fund the government on Monday, taking a large step toward ending the federal government shutdown.

The cloture vote, which allows the funding bill to move forward without a filibuster, easily cleared the 60-vote threshold with support from both parties in a final vote of 81 to 18. Two Republicans, Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee, voted against the measure, as did 16 Democrats.

During a speech on the Senate floor before the vote, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats would vote for the bill.

"The Republican leader and I have come to an arrangement," Schumer said. "We will vote today to reopen the government."

The deal will keep the government funded until February 8, eight days earlier than the date in the House-passed funding bill that the Senate rejected on Friday.

The final bill has not yet been passed in the Senate because members are reportedly working out language that will allow federal workers to receive back-pay for the days the government was closed, per reports. The House then needs to vote on the Senate's bill before President Donald Trump can sign it to reopen the government.

Trump weighed in on the deal following the cloture vote with a statement partially committing to an immigration deal.

"I am pleased that Democrats in Congress have come to their senses and are now willing to fund our great military, border patrol, first responders, and insurance for vulnerable children," Trump said. "As I have always said, once the Government is funded, my Administration will work toward solving the problem of very unfair illegal immigration. We will make a long-term deal on immigration if, and only if, it is good for our country."

Given Trump's wild change of hearts during the immigration discussion, it is unclear what exactly a deal that is "good for our country" would look like.

The impasse was broken after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to hold an open debate process on a bill to codify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program. Securing a vote on DACA was a key priority for Democrats, but the deal with McConnell appears to have fallen short of the party's original request.

Despite McConnell's commitment, there is nothing binding the House to the deal. A 2013 immigration bill received bipartisan support in the Senate but never made it to the floor of the House.

McConnell previously promised Republican Sen. Jeff Flake there would be a DACA vote by the end of January, which does not look likely.

Schumer said that if McConnell did not hold a good-faith vote on the DACA issue by February 8, the Republican leader "will have breached the trust" of Senate Democrats.

"The Republican majority now has 17 days to keep the Dreamers from being deported," Schumer said, referring to DACA recipients.

The program will expire on March 5, potentially leaving nearly 700,000 unauthorized immigrants who came to the US as minors at risk of deportation.

The Senate funding bill will also extend funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program for six years. CHIP funding technically expired in September.

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