Senate leaders reach a deal to reopen government, with vote scheduled today

  • From l-r., Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., walk together after attending a close-door meeting with fellow GOP Senators, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington on day three of the government shutdown. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Tribune Washington Bureau
Monday, January 22, 2018

WASHINGTON –  Senate leaders have reached an agreement to end the three-day government shutdown by passing a stopgap spending bill and committing to tackle the issue of immigration before the next deadline, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the decision.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill soon, and Speaker Paul D. Ryan said House Republicans would support the temporary measure, which would extend government funding until Feb. 8.

As they emerged from a closed-door meeting, some Senate Democrats predicted their caucus would vote to support the bill and reopen the government.

In return, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to consider legislation to help “Dreamers,” young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Their protection from deportation will end in March because President Donald Trump is terminating the Obama-era program Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

An unusually large bipartisan group of more than 20 senators has been meeting for days, including Monday morning, to resolve the standoff after talks broke down between leaders and the White House.

Democrats were initially cool to McConnell’s offer, wanting more than a promise that GOP leaders, who control the Senate floor schedule, would seriously consider an immigration bill.

Dreamers and their allies intensified pressure on Democrats to hold out for the best deal.

McConnell spent the past few days railing angrily at Democrats over immigration, but offered a notably more measured tone Monday ahead of the vote.

Not once did he mention “illegal immigration,” as he extended his offer to consider legislation. It was a shift from his earlier insistence that any immigration bill needed White House support before coming for a vote.

“So long as the government remains open ... it would be my intention to take up legislation here in the Senate that would address DACA, border security, and related issues,” McConnell said. “Let me be clear, this immigration debate will have a level playing field at the outset, and an amendment process that is fair to all sides.”


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PHOTO (for help with images, contact 312-222-4194): SHUTDOWN