The federal government will open as soon as Tuesday morning, three days after the official shutdown at midnight last Friday, Jan 26.
A bill to reopen and fund the federal government until Feb 8 passed through the Senate and the House of Representatives Monday evening, clearing the way for President Trump’s signature later that day which allowed federal employees to return to work as early as Tuesday morning.
The president issued a statement after the initial Senate vote on Monday, in which he said “I am pleased that Democrats in Congress have come to their senses and are now willing to fund our great military, Border Patrol, first responders, and insurance for vulnerable children. As I’ve always said, 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’s good for our country.”
Schumer & McConnell
The Senate and House votes follow a deal made between Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who were on the frontlines of negotiations between the Democrats and Republicans to reopen the government.
On the Senate floor, Schumer and McConnell stated that they had reached an “agreement” that would assure negotiations for an immigration deal between the Republicans and Democrats within the coming weeks and end the shutdown that, according to McConnell, is doing “absolutely nothing to generate bipartisan progress on the issues the American public care about.”
The vote passed easily through both the Senate (with a vote of 81-18) and the House of Representative (with a vote of 266-159), reopening the government for the next 17 days and funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for the next six years. It failed, however, to find a permanent solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the immigration legislation that temporarily protected the 700,000 people brought illegally to the US as children, a condition that Senate Democrats had originally demanded.
In September of last year, the Trump administration called for the end of the Obama-era DACA program by March of 2018. Since that time, Congress has attempted to find a legislative solution for the Dreamers, the colloquial term that refers to those protected by DACA.
Press Secretary Sanders On The Shutdown
During a press briefing on Monday after the votes had taken place, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders in response to a question regarding the president’s level of trust with Senate Democrats moving forward, stated “I wouldn’t say it’s the highest level of trust [between POTUS and Senate Democrats], but I think we’re certainly hopeful that we can reach an agreement on responsible immigration reform. We’ve laid out what we want, and we hope that Democrats we know they agree on most of those components, and we hope that they’ll come to the table ready to actually make a deal, and less focused on playing political games.”
Also at the press briefing, Sanders suggested that Dreamers should “storm Capitol Hill and protest there, because that is the place that has held up this discussion,” in response to a question of what the White House’s message is to those affected by DACA.
“Democrats are the one that shut this discussion down by forcing a government shutdown,” Sanders continued, “by being unwilling to fund the government. We lost four days, over this process of the conversation that should have been focused on immigration reform, fighting over the CR. If they had been part of the solution instead of part of the problem, then I think we would have already been further down the road in our negotiations on that package. And hopefully, we won’t have problems like that in the future.”
Read also: Analysis: DACA And The Shutdown