Winners and losers from the government shutdown

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff pleads to Senate GOP: 'Right matters. And the truth matters.' Anita Hill to Iowa crowd: 'Statute of limitations' for Biden apology is 'up' Sen. Van Hollen releases documents from GAO investigation 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 McConnellSenate Republicans confident they'll win fight on witnesses The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems to present case on abuse of power on trial's third day The Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' MORE (R-Ky.)

McConnell is widely perceived to have got the better of his Democratic counterpart, Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer urges declassification of letter from Pence aide No rush to judgment on Trump — it's been ongoing since Election Day Collins walks impeachment tightrope 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 DonnellyGinsburg health scare raises prospect of election year Supreme Court battle Watchdog accuses pro-Kavanaugh group of sending illegal robotexts in 2018 Lobbying world MORE (Ind.), Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump's trial a major test for McConnell, Schumer Poll: West Virginia voters would view Manchin negatively if he votes to convict Trump Pelosi set to send impeachment articles to the Senate next week MORE (W.Va.) and Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillHow Citizens United altered America's political landscape #MidnightMoscowMitch trends amid criticism of McConnell's proposed impeachment trial rules The most expensive congressional races of the last decade MORE (Mo.) among them. 

But Republicans, including several critics of Trump, also played their part. Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDemocrats hammer abuse of power charge, allege Trump put self over country Video becomes vital part of Democrats' case against Trump Nadler plays 1999 clip of Graham defining high crimes: 'It doesn't even have to be a crime' MORE (S.C.) was particularly prominent, with Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSchiff pleads to Senate GOP: 'Right matters. And the truth matters.' Senate Republicans confident they'll win fight on witnesses Susan Collins asked Justice Roberts to intervene after Nadler late-night 'cover-up' accusation MORE (Maine), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeThe Hill's 12:30 Report: House managers to begin opening arguments on day two Flake: Republicans don't speak out against Trump 'because they want to keep their jobs' GOP senator calls CNN reporter a 'liberal hack' when asked about Parnas materials MORE (Ariz.), Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerRNC says ex-Trump ambassador nominee's efforts 'to link future contributions to an official action' were 'inappropriate' Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing MORE (Tenn.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiSchiff pleads to Senate GOP: 'Right matters. And the truth matters.' Senate Republicans confident they'll win fight on witnesses Tensions between McConnell and Schumer run high as trial gains momentum 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 RyanHill.TV's Saagar Enjeti rips Sanders for 'inability to actually fight with bad actors' in party Biden fires back at Sanders on Social Security Warren now also knocking Biden on Social Security 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 12:30 Report: House managers to begin opening arguments on day two Patrick backs reparations in unveiling 'Equity Agenda for Black Americans' Booker ahead of Trump impeachment trial: 'History has its eyes on us' MORE (N.J.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial Overnight Energy: Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate impact | Republicans offer details on their environmental proposals | Microsoft aims to be carbon negative by 2030 MORE (N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris weighing Biden endorsement: report California Democrat Christy Smith launches first TV ad in bid for Katie Hill's former House seat Steyer spokesperson: 'I don't think necessarily that Tom has bought anything' MORE (Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenHarris weighing Biden endorsement: report Biden, Sanders contend for top place in new national poll Biden leads Democratic primary field nationally: poll MORE (Mass.) all voted no, as did Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden, Sanders contend for top place in new national poll Biden leads Democratic primary field nationally: poll Warren calls for Brazil to drop charges against Glenn Greenwald 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.