Senate Leaders Reach Deal To Reopen Government
WASHINGTON - The Senate overwhelmingly advanced a three-week spending bill Monday afternoon that would reopen the government. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said ahead of the vote that he had reached a deal with Republican leaders and that Democrats would vote in favor of the bill.
Senators voted 81-18 to end debate and move to a vote on final passage. If it's approved, the House will have to vote on the proposal. Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, signaled Sunday that the House would pass the bill.
Schumer said ahead of the procedural vote at noon that "we will vote today to reopen the government to continue negotiating" a global agreement with the commitment from GOP leaders that if there isn't a deal by the Feb. 8 deadline, the Senate will immediately proceed to legislation dealing with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Schumer said it will be "neutral and fair to all sides" that will get an up or down vote on the floor.
The government shutdown has remained in effect Monday, after senators failed to come to an agreement to end it late Sunday night. Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell attempted to schedule a vote Sunday night that would end the shutdown, but Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer objected.
McConnell had promised that if by Feb. 8, there is no agreement on immigration, the Senate would address DACA and border security, as well as increased defense spending. "Let's step back from the brink" and stop victimizing the American people and get back to work, McConnell argued.
House and Senate lawmakers met throughout the day Sunday to end the government shutdown as the impasse continued into the second day, with both chambers hoping to strike a deal on spending and immigration that would reopen federal agencies ahead of the work week.
Sunday morning, the fragile outlines of a potential deal seemed to be taking shape. On CBS News' "Face the Nation," House Speaker Paul Ryan said the lower chamber has agreed to accept a short-term deal that would fund the government through Feb. 8 if the Senate is able to pass such a bill.
On Saturday, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina suggested the bill that would fund the government in exchange for a commitment to move onto immigration after Feb. 8.
"After extensive discussions with Senators, on both sides of the aisle, I believe such a proposal would pass if it was understood that after February 8, the Senate would move to an immigration debate with an open amendment process if no agreement has been reached with the White House and House of Representatives," Graham said in a statement Saturday afternoon.
On Saturday, Republicans and Democrats failed to reach an agreement as federal agencies began implementing shutdown procedures. McConnell told reporters that lawmakers would be "right back at it" for "as long as it takes."
"We will keep at this until Democrats end their extraordinary filibuster of government funding and children's healthcare, and allow a bipartisan majority of Senators to reopen the federal government for all Americans and get Congress back on track," McConnell said Saturday on the Senate floor. Senate Democrats say they will not support a funding resolution that does not include protections for immigrants brought to the U.S. as children under the DACA program and spending for disaster relief.
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