Senate Dems take deal, clearing way to end shutdown
Senate Democrats say they are accepting a deal with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for an immigration vote, clearing the way for passage of a bill to reopen the federal government.
McConnell, early Monday, promised to take up an immigration bill that would protect an estimated 800,000 “Dreamers” from deportation, under an open amendment process, if Democrats would agree to end the government shutdown.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that pledge was enough for his caucus to accept a three-week government funding bill, which advanced in a vote early Monday afternoon.
“After several discussions, offers and counteroffers, the Republican leader and I have come to an arrangement. We will vote today to reopen the government to continue negotiating a global agreement,” Schumer said.
Schumer said McConnell has committed that if negotiators fail to reach an immigration deal before the stopgap spending measure expires on Feb. 8 “the Senate will immediately proceed to consideration of legislation” to protect “Dreamers.”
He said McConnell has promised that immigration debate “will be neutral and fair to all sides.”
“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.
“Don’t give up,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said on the Senate floor to the Dreamers.
“I know that your lives are hanging in the balance on what we do here on Capitol Hill and with the White House,” he said. “Three weeks from now, I hope to be joining in celebrating the passage with you and your families and your communities of a measure that will strengthen America and give you an opportunity to be part of our future.”
The agreement likely ends a three-day government shutdown that began at 12:01 a.m. Saturday after Democrats voted to block a monthlong House-passed stopgap that extended funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program but did nothing to protect immigrants who came to the country illegally at a young age facing deportation.
Democrats held a 90-minute meeting before the vote on whether to accept McConnell’s offer.
Many of them worried that it fell short of their demands to reach a deal to replace the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program with President Trump or at least a promise from Republicans to attach immigration legislation to a must-pass bill.
Schumer said he has not spoken to President Trump since a meeting at the White House on Friday.
Updated at 1:39 p.m.
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