Democrats join Republicans in clearing way for a short-term spending package to fund government through February 8
The Senate voted overwhelmingly Monday to end the three-day-old government shutdown, with Democrats joining Republicans to clear the way for 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 the young immigrants in the country illegally.
“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 Donald 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.
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 immigrants brought to the country illegally 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 McConnell to allow a vote on a measure to protect the immigrants from deportation.
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.
“We’re going to reopen the government,” Senator Mark Warner Democrat from Virginia, whose state is home to thousands of federal workers, told reporters. 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.”