Winners and losers from the government shutdown

President TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist 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 McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment White House, Congress inch toward debt, budget deal Republicans scramble to contain Trump fallout MORE (R-Ky.)

McConnell is widely perceived to have got the better of his Democratic counterpart, Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerLawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens Trump administration denies temporary immigrant status to Venezuelans in US Colombian official urges more help for Venezuelan migrants 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 DonnellyTrump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand GOP frets over nightmare scenario for Senate primaries McConnell's Democratic challenger McGrath backtracks on Kavanaugh comments MORE (Ind.), Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand Kentucky Democrat says primary challenge to McGrath 'might be helpful' McConnell's Democratic challenger McGrath backtracks on Kavanaugh comments MORE (W.Va.) and Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillTrump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand Feds allow campaigns to accept discounted cybersecurity services GOP frets over nightmare scenario for Senate primaries MORE (Mo.) among them. 

But Republicans, including several critics of Trump, also played their part. Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump digs in ahead of House vote to condemn tweet Why Trump's bigoted tropes won't work in 2020 The Memo: Toxic 2020 is unavoidable conclusion from Trump tweets MORE (S.C.) was particularly prominent, with Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTrump angry more Republicans haven't defended his tweets: report Republicans scramble to contain Trump fallout The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump digs in ahead of House vote to condemn tweet MORE (Maine), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake urges Republicans to condemn 'vile and offensive' Trump tweets Flake responds to Trump, Jimmy Carter barbs: 'We need to stop trying to disqualify each other' Jeff Flake responds to Trump's 'greener pastures' dig on former GOP lawmakers MORE (Ariz.), Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid Meet the key Senate player in GOP fight over Saudi Arabia Trump says he's 'very happy' some GOP senators have 'gone on to greener pastures' MORE (Tenn.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOvernight Defense: Highlights from Defense pick's confirmation hearing | Esper spars with Warren over ethics | Sidesteps questions on Mattis vs. Trump | Trump says he won't sell F-35s to Turkey Epstein charges show Congress must act to protect children from abuse PBS premieres first nationally distributed kids' show with Native American lead 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 RyanOcasio-Cortez top aide emerges as lightning rod amid Democratic feud Juan Williams: GOP in a panic over Mueller House Republicans dismissive of Paul Ryan's take on Trump 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 BookerThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Lawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens Schumer throws support behind bill to study reparations MORE (N.J.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump digs in ahead of House vote to condemn tweet 'Game of Thrones' scores record-breaking 32 Emmy nominations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet MORE (N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris tops Biden in California 2020 poll The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Democrats fret over Trump cash machine MORE (Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenHarris tops Biden in California 2020 poll The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Democrats fret over Trump cash machine MORE (Mass.) all voted no, as did Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders to call on 2020 Democrats to reject money from drug, health insurance industries The hidden connection between immigration and health care: Our long-term care crisis Harris tops Biden in California 2020 poll 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.