Congress clears bill to end shutdown

 
Lawmakers voted 266-150 to reopen the federal government and extend funding through Feb. 8, as well as provide money for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for six years. Six Republicans voted "no," while 45 Democrats voted "yes" to pass the bill.
 
Trump signed the bill just before 9 p.m.
 
A government shutdown went into effect early Saturday morning after most Senate Democrats and a handful of Republicans blocked a House-passed temporary spending bill that would have lasted through Feb. 16.
 
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Democrats had pledged not to vote for a spending measure unless lawmakers had an agreement on how to ensure protections for young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, known as “Dreamers.”
 
The House and Senate held emergency sessions over the weekend to break the impasse, but a final resolution didn’t emerge until Monday morning.
 
By that time, hundreds of thousands of federal workers were furloughed or working without pay. But the short length of the shutdown, as well as the fact that most of its duration occurred over a weekend, means that its effects will be relatively limited compared to a 16-day shutdown in 2013.
 
Critical government functions were put on hold during the shutdown, even though the Trump administration sought to minimize the effects compared to 2013.
 
Americans could still visit national parks, unlike in 2013. But many National Park Service staffers were furloughed, which halted services like trash removal and restroom cleaning.
 
Members of the military continued working during the shutdown but without pay. 
 
A measure attached to the bill to reopen the government ensures that federal workers get back pay they would otherwise have lost during the shutdown. 
 
Senate Democrats agreed to end the impasse after Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPence: Next coronavirus relief bill would need legal shield for businesses GOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill State Department scrutiny threatens Pompeo's political ambitions MORE (R-Ky.) pledged to take up an immigration bill next month. There’s no guarantee any bill that passes in the Senate will get a vote in the House, however.
 
Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump slams Sessions: 'You had no courage & ruined many lives' Senate Democrats call on Trump administration to let Planned Parenthood centers keep PPP loans States, companies set up their own COVID-19 legal shields MORE (D-N.Y.) said McConnell has committed to consider legislation to protect Dreamers if negotiators don’t reach an immigration deal before Feb. 8.
 
“Now there is a real pathway to get a bill on the floor and through the Senate. It is a good solution, and I will vote for it,” Schumer said.
 
Trump and GOP leaders in Congress stood firm in refusing to negotiate on immigration until the government reopened.
 
 
“Once the government is funded, my administration will work toward solving the problem of very unfair illegal immigration. We will make a long-term deal on immigration if, and only if, it is good for our country,” Trump said in a statement.
 
The legislation approved Monday is the fourth stopgap measure to keep the government funded since September. Leaders in both parties are still working on a budget deal to establish spending levels for fiscal 2018, as well as aid for regions affected by recent natural disasters.
 
House Democratic leaders did not whip their members to oppose the bill, but they voted against it.
 
 
Lawmakers are trying to reach a compromise to replace the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that granted temporary work permits for qualifying young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. 
 
The Trump administration is phasing out the DACA program, putting its roughly 700,000 recipients at risk of deportation.  
 
Liberals and immigration activists expressed outrage that the deal fell short of Democrats’ demands that Republicans needed to at least agree on the contours of an immigration deal.
 
“I do not see how a vague promise from the Senate Majority Leader about a vague policy to be voted on in the future helps the Dreamers or maximizes leverage the Democrats and American people have over the Republicans right now,” said Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.). 
 
“This shows me that when it comes to immigrants, Latinos and their families, Democrats are still not willing to go to the mat to allow people in my community to live in our country legally,” he concluded.
 
Other Democrats were more willing to vote to end the shutdown.
 
Rep. Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyDemocrats to probe Trump's replacement of top Transportation Dept. watchdog The Postal Service collapse that isn't happening Postal Service to review package fee policy: report MORE (D-Va.), who represents a Northern Virginia district with thousands of federal workers, said McConnell’s “concession to our demands for action is a big victory for the Democrats and the American people.”
 
The provision in the bill extending CHIP has bipartisan support, despite the partisan fighting that led to the shutdown.
 
The authorization for CHIP expired at the end of September and lawmakers struggled for months to reach an agreement on its funding. States stood at risk of running out of funds for low-income children’s health care if Congress didn’t enact a patch by February. 
 
Bipartisan talks are also expected to resume on pairing protections for Dreamers with enhanced border security measures.
 
Both sides remain far apart on key issues like family reunification or chain migration, temporary protected status for people from struggling countries and whether the Dreamers would be eligible for citizenship or some other form of legal status. 
 
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyTrump, GOP go all-in on anti-China strategy The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Mnuchin: More COVID-19 congressional action ahead GOP pulls support from California House candidate over 'unacceptable' social media posts MORE (R-Calif.) had been in talks with the other second-ranking leaders in both chambers: House Minority Whip Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerHouse conservatives voice concerns over minority rights during remote hearings House slated to vote on FISA before end of the month House Rules Committee approves remote voting during pandemic MORE (D-Md.), along with Sens. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenators weigh traveling amid coronavirus ahead of Memorial Day Congress headed toward unemployment showdown Senate to try to pass fix for Paycheck Protection Program Thursday MORE (D-Ill.) and John CornynJohn CornynFive questions about the next COVID-19 relief package Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers demand answers on Chinese COVID hacks | Biden re-ups criticism of Amazon | House Dem bill seeks to limit microtargeting Lawmakers ask for briefings on Chinese targeting of coronavirus research MORE (R-Texas).
 
McCarthy wouldn’t commit on Monday to bringing up any immigration bill passed in the Senate. He suggested that the House and Senate could each pass their own versions and work out a bicameral compromise in a conference committee, in a process similar to the GOP’s tax overhaul. 
 
“We’re two different houses, so we’ll both do our own work,” McCarthy said. “I don’t see anything wrong with the Senate passing a bill, the House passing a bill and going to conference. That worked with tax. It could work with other items.”
 
—Updated at 9:04 p.m.