President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default 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 McConnellGOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 McConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE (R-Ky.)
McConnell is widely perceived to have got the better of his Democratic counterpart, Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerMcConnell signals Senate GOP will oppose combined debt ceiling-funding bill Centrist state lawmaker enters Ohio GOP Senate primary Biden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week 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.
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 DonnellyRepublicans may regret restricting reproductive rights Sanders traveling to Iowa, Indiana to pitch Biden's spending package Supreme Court battle could wreak havoc with Biden's 2020 agenda MORE (Ind.), Joe ManchinJoe ManchinPelosi says House members would not vote on spending bill topline higher than Senate's To reduce poverty, stop burdening the poor: What Joe Manchin gets wrong about the child tax credit Overnight Health Care — Presented by Indivior —Pfizer: COVID-19 vaccine safe for young kids MORE (W.Va.) and Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillRepublicans may regret restricting reproductive rights Sunday shows preview: States deal with fallout of Ida; Texas abortion law takes effect Giuliani to stump for Greitens in Missouri MORE (Mo.) among them.
But Republicans, including several critics of Trump, also played their part. Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamRep. Tim Ryan becomes latest COVID-19 breakthrough case in Congress Graham found Trump election fraud arguments suitable for 'third grade': Woodward book Senate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan MORE (S.C.) was particularly prominent, with Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMcConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike GOP senator will 'probably' vote for debt limit increase Welcome to ground zero of climate chaos MORE (Maine), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeBiden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Voting rights will be on '22, '24 ballots MORE (Ariz.), Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her MORE (Tenn.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTrump, allies launch onslaught as midterms kick into gear Emboldened Trump takes aim at GOP foes The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - DC prepares for Saturday of festivals & Jan. 6 demonstration 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 RyanPaul Ryan researched narcissistic personality disorder after Trump win: book Paul Ryan says it's 'really clear' Biden won election: 'It was not rigged. It was not stolen' Democrats fret over Trump-district retirements ahead of midterms 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 BookerDOJ announces agencywide limits on chokeholds and no-knock entries Fighting poverty, the Biden way Top Senate Democrats urge Biden to take immediate action on home confinement program MORE (N.J.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandHochul tells Facebook to 'clean up the act' on abortion misinformation after Texas law Democratic senators request probe into Amazon's treatment of pregnant employees The FBI comes up empty-handed in its search for a Jan. 6 plot MORE (N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisCIA chief team member reported Havana syndrome symptoms during trip to India: report Harris booked for first in-studio talk show appearance as VP on 'The View' Republicans caught in California's recall trap MORE (Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocrats confront 'Rubik's cube on steroids' The Trojan Horse of protectionism Federal Reserve officials' stock trading sparks ethics review MORE (Mass.) all voted no, as did Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPelosi says House members would not vote on spending bill topline higher than Senate's Groups push lawmakers to use defense bill to end support for Saudis in Yemen civil war Congress must address the looming debt crisis 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.
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.
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.