U.S. senate votes to end shutdown

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January 22, 2018 - The Senate voted 81-18 on Monday to end the three-day old government shutdown, with Democrats joining Republicans to clear the way for the passage of a short-term spending package that would fund the government through February 8 in exchange for a promise from Republican leaders to address the fate of young, undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers.

“In a few hours, the government will reopen,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader. “We have a lot to do.”

The procedural vote does not immediately end the shutdown. The Senate must still grant final approval of the bill, and it must then be approved by the House. But final passage is a formality, and after a weekend of partisan finger-pointing — in which Democrats branded the shutdown the “Trump Shutdown,” after President Trump, and Republicans branded it the “Schumer shutdown” — the vote offered both parties a way out of an ugly impasse that threatened to cause political harm to both parties.

Mr. Schumer, speaking on the Senate floor, announced that he and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, had “come to an arrangement” to adopt the three-week spending measure while continuing to negotiate a “global agreement” that would include the fate of the dreamers, undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.

Monday’s vote came after a frantic weekend of work by a bipartisan group of more than 20 senators, who on Sunday night were discussing a plan in which the government would stay open through early February, coupled with a promise from Mr. McConnell to allow a vote on a measure to protect the Dreamers from deportation.

Mr. McConnell pledged Monday morning that he would permit a “free and open debate” on immigration next month if the issue had not been resolved by then. But his promise was not enough for many Democrats, and on Monday morning, moderate Senate Democrats were still pressing for more in exchange for their votes to end the shutdown.

By the time of the vote just after noon on Monday, the moderate Democrats were predicting the vote would pass.

“We’re going to vote to reopen the government,” Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, a Democrat whose state is home to thousands of federal workers, told reporters. Mr. Warner said there was now a “path clear on how we’re going to get a full-year budget and we got a path clear on how we’re going to start an immigration debate.”

Senator Angus King of Maine, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, said he was a “strong” yes.

“I said before trust but verify,” he said of Mr. McConnell. “He made this commitment publicly in the Senate floor. He was much more specific than he was last night. And frankly I think this is an important opportunity for him to demonstrate that he will carry through.”

Source: The New York Times