Senate Votes To Approve Agreement To Reopen Government, House Expected To Go Along

While final votes remain to be taken, the Federal Government shutdown effectively ended this afternoon with an overwhelming bipartisan vote to reopen the government, combined with a commitment from Republicans to consider a DACA bill over the next three weeks. What happens next, though, is entirely uncertain.

Capitol Building Mirror Image

it’sThe Senate has effectively voted to approve a Continuing Resolution that funds the Federal Government through February 8th in a deal that includes a commitment by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring a bill that would extend the Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to the floor for consideration and a vote, and it’s expected that the House of Representatives will support the measure when the Senate sends it over to them:

The Senate voted 81-18 on Monday to end the three-day old government shutdown, with Democrats joining Republicans to clear the way for the passage of a short-term spending package that would fund the government through February 8 in exchange for a promise from Republican leaders to address the fate of young, undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers.

“In a few hours, the government will reopen,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader. “We have a lot to do.”

The procedural vote does not immediately end the shutdown. The Senate must still grant final approval of the bill, and it must then be approved by the House.

But final passage is a formality, and after a weekend of partisan finger-pointing — in which Democrats branded the shutdown the “Trump Shutdown,” after President Trump, and Republicans branded it the “Schumer shutdown” — the vote offered both parties a way out of an ugly impasse that threatened to cause political harm to both parties.

Mr. Schumer, speaking on the Senate floor, announced that he and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, had “come to an arrangement” to adopt the three-week spending measure while continuing to negotiate a “global agreement” that would include the fate of the dreamers, undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.

Monday’s vote came after a frantic weekend of work by a bipartisan group of more than 20 senators, who on Sunday night were discussing a plan in which the government would stay open through early February, coupled with a promise from Mr. McConnell to allow a vote on a measure to protect the Dreamers from deportation.

Mr. McConnell pledged Monday morning that he would permit a “free and open debate” on immigration next month if the issue had not been resolved by then. But his promise was not enough for many Democrats, and on Monday morning, moderate Senate Democrats were still pressing for more in exchange for their votes to end the shutdown.

By the time of the vote just after noon on Monday, the moderate Democrats were predicting the vote would pass.

“We’re going to vote to reopen the government,” Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, a Democrat whose state is home to thousands of federal workers, told reporters. Mr. Warner said there was now a “path clear on how we’re going to get a full-year budget and we got a path clear on how we’re going to start an immigration debate.”

More from The Washington Post:

Senate Democrats bowed to pressure to reopen the government Monday, joining Republicans in backing an immigration and spending compromise that was quickly denounced by liberals and immigration activists.

Roughly 60 hours after the federal government first shut down, a bipartisan group of negotiators in the Senate prevailed with leadership, trading Democratic support for reopening the government for a commitment by Republicans to hold a vote resolving the status of young undocumented immigrants by mid-February.

The Senate voted 81-18 to end a filibuster of a spending bill that would fund the government through Feb. 8 and reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program for six years. The upper chamber was expected to pass the measure Monday afternoon, then send it to the House for quick approval.

The government can reopen once President Trump signs the funding into law.

The resolution of the three-day shutdown exposed a growing rift between two groups of Democratic senators: those facing tough reelection campaigns in states Trump won, and those courting progressive voters ahead of possible 2020 presidential bids.

Channeling rage from immigration activists, the possible 2020 candidates were highly critical of their leaders’ willingness to trust that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will allow an immigration vote after Feb. 8 if senators cannot strike a deal before then.

“I believe it’s been a false choice that’s been presented” between keeping the government open and resolving the DACA issue, said Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), who voted no. “I believe we can do both.”

A majority of Democrats had forced the shutdown with demands for a vote on legislation to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients from deportation after Trump canceled the program. The final agreement did not include these protections, nor any specific guarantee of a vote.

Other possible White House contenders who voted against the bill included Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Democratic and independent senators who relented in the standoff said they did not necessarily trust McConnell, but had faith that the bipartisan negotiators, including Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.), would force him to abide by his commitments.

“I think frankly our trust is more with our colleagues, that they will hold him accountable,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who is up for reelection this year in a state Trump won.

“If there’s any silver lining to this dark cloud, it is this is the first time I’ve seen such a large group in the middle come together,” she said.

McConnell had said Sunday night and Monday morning that it was his “intention” to take up legislation addressing DACA, border security and other issues if Democrats agreed to fund the government until Feb. 8.

“This immigration debate will have a level playing field at the outset and an amendment process that is fair to all sides,” he said Monday.

As a technical matter, at the time that this post is being written the Senate still needs to take a final vote on the Continuing Resolution. That is scheduled to take place around 2:30 pm this afternoon. Given the fact that the cloture vote passed with what essentially amounts to a supermajority, though, it’s obvious that the bill will get well above the 51 votes it will need for final passage.  From there, the vote will head over to the House of Representatives, which is expected to take up the matter as soon as possible, meaning that we can probably expect a final vote there sometime later this afternoon. Following that, the bill will head to the White House where all indications are that President Trump will sign it into law as soon as it is received. At that point, the government will officially be able to reopen for business and Federal workers who were told to stay home, or sent home, this morning will be reporting back to work tomorrow morning and operations will get back to normal for at least the next three weeks. What happens after February 8th depends on how things go with respect to the DACA vote and other issues.

The measure agreed to today is pretty much identical to what Majority Leader McConnell outlined last night, and which the Senate was originally supposed to vote on late last night, and includes funding through February 8th and the commitment to bring a DACA bill forward for considering in the intervening period. What form that bill will take and whether it can actually pass the Senate on either a cloture vote or a final vote is something that remains to be seen and which obviously cannot be guaranteed beforehand. Additionally, while it’s expected that the House of Representatives will easily pass the Continuing Resolution later today, it’s unclear how they will proceed with respect to DACA or indeed any other immigration-related bill that may come before it.

The House could end up accepting a Senate DACA bill as-is and sending it to the Senate, or it could end up passing its own version of a DACA bill in which event the two chambers will have to enter conference negotiations to attempt to hammer out an agreement that could pass both the House and the Senate. Also unanswered is the question of what the White House will support by way of a DACA bill, including whether the President will insist that any such bill address other issues such as funding for his border wall and his call for an end to so-called “chain migration” that allows people here legally to sponsor family members for immigration, sometimes on an expedited basis. How that all plays out will go a long way toward determining whether or not Congress can actually solve this issue and whether they’ll be able to do so before the February 8th deadline that is part of the Continuing Resolution before Congress today. Finally, it’s worth noting that President Trump will be somewhat detached from DACA discussions in the immediate future since he is expected to leave town tomorrow for a summit meeting in Switzerland that will last for several days this week. This could make it difficult for the parties to negotiate on a DACA bill since there will be significant attention paid to exactly what the President supports prior to any vote in either the House or the Senate.

For the time being, though, this means that the government shutdown will end and that we’re likely to see at least some action on DACA and related issues in the Senate, and hopefully in the House as well. Additionally, while both parties will no doubt continue to play the blame game regarding responsibility for the shutdown, the fact that this one was relatively short-lived likely means that the political impact for all parties involved is likely to be minimal. This could change depending on how things proceed with regard to the DACA issue, which is likely to be the center of attention in Washington for the next three weeks although that will likely be put on hold briefly at the end of the month since the President is set to give his first State of the Union on January 30th. In the short term, though, the focus going forward will be on the debate in both houses over immigration and DACA, and the fact that polling indicates that a vast majority of Americans supports a bill that would grant some kind of legal status to DACA beneficiaries is likely to place pressure on Democrats and Republicans alike to get something done as quickly as possible

Update: Shortly before 4:30 this afternoon, the Senate held its final vote to approve the Continuing Resolution to keep the government open through February 8th. It now heads to the House of Representatives, which is expected to hold its final vote between 5:15 pm and 6:15 pm EST. This means the bill will be signed into law by President Trump sometime early this evening and the shutdown will officially be over.

Update #2: The House passed the Senate Continuing Resolution shortly before 6:30 pm, at which point it adjourned for the rest of the week for scheduled time for members to go back to their districts. The House will be back in session on January 29th. On January 30th, we have the State of the Union Address.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Deficit and Debt, Donald Trump, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    I don’t trust McConnell or Ryan. But I think Dems are better off than they were last Thursday. They gave Trump 3 weeks to do something he hasn’t been able to do, and probably isn’t capable of doing; negotiate a deal on DACA. In three weeks they will be able to re-apply the same leverage only Trump will have even less credibility than he has now (if that’s possible).
    Plus they got CHIP taken care of for 6 years.

  2. Facebones says:

    I think too many Democrats are lashing out without looking at what was passed.

    – CHIP is approved for 6 years, and that’s a huge deal to all the families who rely on it.

    – Government is open for three weeks while a DACA bill is worked on.

    – If McConnell can’t get his caucus in line, then the next shutdown will be his fault entirely.

    – And Master Deal Maker Trump looks like a weak idiot who got told to shut up and stay out of negotiations.

  3. CSK says:

    @Facebones:

    Well, Trump actually was a weak idiot who got told to sit in the corner and play with his Busy Box while the adults talked.

  4. JKB says:

    I wonder how all this shutting down the government for the benefit of non-citizens is playing in rural flyover America where Democrats need to recover if they ever hope to occupy the White House again?

    Here was the sentiment from January 11, well before the DC Democrats went hard over for non-Americans.

    The facts are harsh. “The number of Democrats holding office across the nation is at its lowest point since the 1920s and the decline has been especially severe in rural America,” Bustos writes in the report. In 2009, the report notes, Democrats held 57 percent of the heartland’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Now: 39 percent. In 2008, Barack Obama won seven of the eight heartland states. In 2012, he won six. In 2016? Trump won six. There are 737 counties in the Midwest—Trump won all but 63 of them.

  5. John430 says:

    Lefties brayed but Schumer caved.

  6. Kathy says:

    That was a lot of sound and fury, signifying the equivalent of a snow day for part of the federal government.

  7. KM says:

    @Facebones:

    I think too many Democrats are lashing out without looking at what was passed.

    Agreed. “Caving” is not the same as “Compromise” – it’s not ideal but honestly what did they expect would happen?

  8. KM says:

    Finally, it’s worth noting that President Trump will be somewhat detached from DACA discussions in the immediate future since he is expected to leave town tomorrow for a summit meeting in Switzerland that will last for several days this week. This could make it difficult for the parties to negotiate on a DACA bill since there will be significant attention paid to exactly what the President supports prior to any vote in either the House or the Senate.

    Depends – is he taking Stephen Miller with him? That’s who’s putting the bug in Trump’s ear – Trump’s too damn lazy to keep pushing like this without someone goading him on.

  9. CSK says:

    @KM:

    An article just up in The New Yorker says he’s taking eight cabinet members with him.But he could have Ivanka, Miller, and who knows who else in the entourage.

  10. JKB says:

    Ha, I see not only did Arizona provide funds to keep the Grand Canyon open, Cuomo in NY did the dame for the Statue of Liberty.

    Things are different when you don’t take special steps to screw the unconnected like Obama did.

  11. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @JKB:
    NY did the same at the Statue of Liberty the last time Republicans shut down the Government.
    Seriously…look into the Dunning-Kruger Effect. They may want to use you as a poster-child.

  12. MikeSJ says:

    I see the outrage over the decision to stop the shut down but I’ve seen it explained as one of the hostages was released (CHIP) and negotiations are ongoing for the remaining hostage.

    So it ain’t over till it’s over.

    For me this seems like a reasonable move.

    Of course there’s a very good chance that even if Mitch agrees to honor his commitments (not a sure thing) the house will pull the plug on any deal to help DACA. If that happens we’ll be back to ground zero (with one hostage saved at least)

    Bottom line here is Trump got elected on a virulently racist anti immigrant platform. There’s going to be damage and that’s the price for losing an election.

  13. michael reynolds says:

    @JKB:
    Trump’s done nothing BUT screw the unconnected. He’s like a snack machine – feed him quarters and he gives up a treat. If you don’t pay him off he lashes out. He’s basically a belligerent sex worker. Sorry, I mean a belligerent ‘textbook generic’ sex worker.

  14. An Interested Party says:

    I wonder how all this shutting down the government for the benefit of non-citizens is playing in rural flyover America where Democrats need to recover if they ever hope to occupy the White House again?

    Your concern trolling really isn’t needed…what you should be worried about is how all of Trump’s empty promises (lies) about helping those people in flyover America will play in the elections in November…also, if you think it will be particularly difficult for the Dems to beat Il Douche in 2020, you’re stupider than you appear…

    …Schumer caved.

    Yes, of course you wouldn’t know the difference between caving and compromising…

  15. Gustopher says:

    The Democrats should cave like this more often.

    CHIP off the table for 6 years to get us to February 8th. Such a horrible caving. How can these spineless Democrats live with themselves?

    How about that long delayed vote to stabilize Obamacase to get us to February 15th?
    And a DACA extension to get us to February 28th?

    Yup, just keep caving.

  16. dmichael says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: You don’t trust McConnell or Ryan but you believe that the Dems are better off? Trump will do nothing except get in the way of any agreement. CHIP can be “undone.” McConnell offered nothing except allow (apparently) a vote on a DACA bill. How about one that the ReThugs offer? That will satisfy the “deal.” Ryan is beholden to the “Freedumb Caucus.” There will be no House version of any bill dealing with DACA or immigrants in general unless it is “Round them up and throw them out.” How many failures will it take the Dems to realize that their concessions will get them nowhere with this crowd of right-wing adversaries? Talk to me in three weeks.

  17. JKB says:

    @An Interested Party: ll of Trump’s empty promises (lies) about helping those people in flyover America

    Leaking out of Washington today is that Trump has a rural infrastructure plan coming. High speed internet, bridge repair, etc.

    CNBC: A big chunk of an apparent White House infrastructure plan would target Trump’s rural base

  18. James Pearce says:

    @JKB:

    I wonder how all this shutting down the government for the benefit of non-citizens is playing in rural flyover America where Democrats need to recover if they ever hope to occupy the White House again?

    You wonder, huh? I don’t. The Democrats and their activist base are in a feedback loop of stupid. The activists are convinced that Democrats are their best patrons while the Democrats think they’ll be hailed as heroes for a record of failure because they made a few “right side of history” noises.

    I have to hand it to Republican voters. You held your noses and you voted for this orange, strange-haired clown with an entire ostuary in his closet, and you did it not because you’re racist or you’re sexist or you endorse that kind of thing. You did it because he was the guy that was just going to bulldoze through the Democrats without fear or hesitation. They couldn’t even last one business day!

    As Doug says, the SOTU is coming up. Trump is going to get up there and lie and lie and boast and he’s going to be calling out a bunch of Democrats, by name, tinpot dictator style, and when the camera cuts over to Schumer or Durbin or whoever else gets the callout, they will shrink into their seat.

  19. becca says:

    @JKB: Toll roads abound in Rump’s infrastructure plans. Hi-speed Internet will be out of reach for many. More fees and hidden taxes for the flyover 47%.

    Rump’s going to make you pay thru the nose for every crumb, toser.

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  20. Ben Wolf says:

    @An Interested Party: Even money Trump is re-elected with 30% approval.

  21. Scott O says:

    @James Pearce: You should run for the Senate or House so you can show everyone the right way to do the job. Or maybe go for an entry level position like president.

  22. Ben Wolf says:

    It isn’t the job of Democrats to help Republicans run government. They asked voters for political control and they got it. They own Washington. Democrats (were they a functional opposition party) are supposed to make life hell for Republicans, not compromise so things don’t get too hard for all those poor little right-wingers.

    And before anyone makes a big silly, the notion our system is based on cooperation is historical bullshit. Since the beginning of the Republic parties have clubbed each other into submission to get their way. The West Wing and patriotic bipartisan wisdom are fictional.

  23. KM says:

    Republicans are now trying to push the meme that Dreamers will turn conservative because “Trump saved them”. Honest to god, I’ve seen people arguing that even though they’ve been screaming about getting rid of DACA for over a year, this will overwhelmingly draw Dreamers to vote Trump because of “Dem failure to protect them”

    Again, the parallels to an abusive relationship are spot on. The crisis is solely caused by the abuser who then ends it at whim and demands respect for “what they’ve done for you”. They truly expect you to be grateful they’ve stopped hurting you and that they’ve done you a favor. Republicans are the ones trying to kick the Dreamers out, they’re the ones who wouldn’t cut a deal on it but now they want credit for “saving” them? “Aren’t you glad you’re not being beaten anymore? Too bad that policeman didn’t help you – useless aren’t they? Now say thank you!!”

    Gaslighting only works if you don’t know it’s happening. These kids aren’t stupid – they know damn well who’s trying to force them out and it ain’t the Dems. Maybe they’re not happy with the Dems on the current deal but they aren’t going to accept the people who are clearly the ones out to get them!

  24. James Pearce says:

    @Scott O:

    You should run for the Senate or House so you can show everyone the right way to do the job.

    I should. All my comments will get upvotes.

  25. KM says:

    @JKB:

    Leaking out of Washington today is that Trump has a rural infrastructure plan coming. High speed internet, bridge repair, etc.

    Pftt yeah right. Who’s paying for that high speed internet, especially since net neutrality bought it and companies can charge whatever the hell they want? It’s either going to be government subsidized – hello new entitlement! – or taxes will have to go up in those states to pay for it.

    I support it on the theory that everyone should have access to it but come on, in a capitalistic society there’s a damn reason it hasn’t happened yet – no profit to be had. Somebody’s going to be footing the bill for this and it’s not gonna be the blue states like Trump thinks.

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