Winners and losers from the government shutdown

President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out 'subversion' at VA MORE on Monday evening signed a government spending measure, ending a government shutdown that began at midnight on Friday.

The stopgap funding, which expires Feb. 8, passed both the Senate and House by large margins earlier in the day.


So as the government prepares to reopen, who emerged as the winners and losers of the first big congressional controversy of 2018?


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers feel pressure on guns Bipartisan group of House lawmakers urge action on Export-Import Bank nominees Curbelo Dem rival lashes out over immigration failure MORE (R-Ky.)

McConnell is widely perceived to have got the better of his Democratic counterpart, Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats now attack internet rules they once embraced Schumer: Trump budget would ‘cripple’ gun background checks Schumer: Senate Republicans' silence 'deafening' on guns, Russia MORE (N.Y.). 

McConnell gave up little by simply pledging to have a vote on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. His broader argument — that DACA was not sufficiently important to force a shuttering of the government — also carried the day, at least for now. 

McConnell is hardly out of the woods yet — the process of trying to get a DACA deal remains fraught with difficulty and Democrats will accuse him of bad faith if he comes up short. 

But the wily McConnell has proven once again that it is hard to outflank him on tactics.

Senate centrists

A group of about 20 senators broke the logjam with talks on Sunday. In a body that is often slammed as hopelessly dysfunctional, they actually got something done. 

Democrats who face challenging reelection races were central, Sens. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyDemocrats now attack internet rules they once embraced Dem group launches M ad buy to boost vulnerable senators Senate rejects Trump immigration plan MORE (Ind.), Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinPavlich: The claim Trump let the mentally ill get guns is a lie Toomey to introduce bill broadening background checks for firearms Scott Walker backs West Virginia attorney general in GOP Senate primary MORE (W.Va.) and Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillMcCaskill welcomes ninth grandson in a row Dem group launches M ad buy to boost vulnerable senators Senate Dems block crackdown on sanctuary cities MORE (Mo.) among them. 

But Republicans, including several critics of Trump, also played their part. Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCongress punts fight over Dreamers to March Pence tours Rio Grande between US and Mexico GOP looks for Plan B after failure of immigration measures MORE (S.C.) was particularly prominent, with Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Tech: Judge blocks AT&T request for DOJ communications | Facebook VP apologizes for tweets about Mueller probe | Tech wants Treasury to fight EU tax proposal Overnight Regulation: Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks | Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare | FCC to officially rescind net neutrality Thursday | Obama EPA chief: Reg rollback won't stand FCC to officially rescind net neutrality rules on Thursday MORE (Maine), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan Congress punts fight over Dreamers to March Outgoing GOP rep: Republican Party 'heading into trouble' in election MORE (Ariz.), Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCongress punts fight over Dreamers to March Drama surrounding Shulkin — what is the future of VA health care? Blackburn pushes back on potential Corker bid: 'I'm going to win' MORE (Tenn.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe siren of Baton Rouge Interior plan to use drilling funds for new projects met with skepticism The 14 GOP senators who voted against Trump’s immigration framework MORE (Alaska) also important players.

None of this guarantees that there will be a later, bigger deal to protect DACA beneficiaries, those immigrants, often called "Dreamers," brought to the country illegally as children. 

But the bipartisan group met its primary goal: getting the government running again.

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanRepublicans are avoiding gun talks as election looms The Hill's 12:30 Report Flake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan MORE (R-Wis.)

Ryan avoided any blame for the shutdown. The Speaker shepherded a spending bill through the House late last week, with the issue only hitting the skids once it moved to the Senate. 

It was a solid victory for Ryan, who has some complicated currents to navigate, especially with his most conservative members. 

Ryan did offer some late concessions to members of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, promising future votes on military spending and immigration, according to The Washington Post. And he will also have a tricky path ahead on whether to press for a DACA fix.

But, for now, Ryan will have few complaints.

2020 Democratic contenders

There was one very meaningful dividing line among Democrats on the crucial midday Monday vote that began bringing the shutdown to a close. 

While Schumer was joined by 32 other members of his party, virtually every Senate Democrat who is considered a plausible White House contender voted the other way. Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee Senate rejects centrist immigration bill after Trump veto threat Sen. Gillibrand, eyeing 2020 bid, rankles some Democrats MORE (N.J.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandAmerican women will decide who wins and loses in 2018 elections Dems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee Calls mount from Dems to give platform to Trump accusers  MORE (N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisCongress fails miserably: For Asian-Americans, immigration proposals are personal attacks American women will decide who wins and loses in 2018 elections Dems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee MORE (Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump's SEC may negate investors' ability to fight securities fraud Schatz's ignorance of our Anglo-American legal heritage illustrates problem with government Dems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee MORE (Mass.) all voted no, as did Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersDems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee 2020 Dem contenders travel to key primary states After Florida school shooting, vows for change but no clear path forward MORE (I-Vt.).

Those senators might well have sincere objections to the deal, but they were also engaging in smart political positioning. Their votes allowed them to present themselves as unyielding fighters for the liberal cause — even while the votes of their more centrist colleagues reopened the government. 

The result was a politically useful vote for the 2020 hopefuls, with no real risk attached.


Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)

Schumer sought to put the best face on the deal to end the shutdown, hitting Trump for not being more engaged in the negotiations and suggesting there had been a solid advance toward protecting DACA beneficiaries. 

But the fact remains that the minority leader got remarkably little in return for ending the shutdown. 

The unhappiness among progressive activists is clear: The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) accused him of caving, while another liberal group, Credo, lambasted him as “the worst negotiator in Washington.” 

Charles Chamberlain, the executive director of Democracy for America, accused Senate Democrats more broadly of “a stunning display of moral and political cowardice.”

Trump, meanwhile, crowed that “Democrats in Congress have come to their senses.” 

Schumer could yet have the last laugh, if a DACA deal were to be done next month.

But right now, it’s been a poor few days for the Senate Democratic leader.

The Left

Progressives can and will rage about the deal their party leaders have done. Stephanie Taylor, a co-founder of the PCCC, lamented in a statement that the deal is emblematic of “why people don’t believe the Democratic Party stands for anything.” 

But that doesn’t change the fact that the left once again failed to bend the party to its will. For all the anti-Trump energy within the party — and the near-iconic status enjoyed by the likes of Warren and Sanders — party leaders hewed to the center once again.

The left needs to do some serious thinking about how it can exert more real power in future.


For all the sound and fury, DACA beneficiaries are no closer, in substantive terms, to a deal that would allow them to remain in the United States legally. 

The prospects of a fix happening at all seem mixed at best. 

And, with the program due to end on March 5, the Dreamers, who number around 700,000 people, face a nail-biting few weeks.


President Trump

Trump was a winner in the shutdown in the sense that his party got the better part of the final compromise and the government is back up and running. But that happened only after the president’s unpredictability caused consternation among Republicans as well as Democrats.

Graham, of South Carolina, lamented at one point that there seemed to be two Trumps — one of whom was much more hard-line on immigration than the other. Graham’s confusion was apparently shared by McConnell, who said last week, “I'm looking for something that President Trump supports. And he's not yet indicated what measure he's willing to sign.” 

Any victory was also overshadowed by Trump’s reported use of the phrase “shithole countries” during a White House meeting on immigration last week. Beyond the Beltway, that remark will likely prove far more infamous and memorable than any of the actual details of the compromise deal that extended government funding.

 —Updated at 9:20 p.m.