Government Set to Reopen for Two Weeks; Schumer Accepts McConnell Promise of Dreamer Bill by February 8

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) leaves the Senate floor after the Senate passed a continuing resolution to fund the federal government, Capitol Hill, January 22, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images)Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) leaves the Senate floor after the Senate passed a continuing resolution to fund the federal government, Capitol Hill, January 22, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

The Senate moved overwhelmingly on early Monday afternoon toward ending a brief government shutdown.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he supported reopening the government, citing a promise by Republican leaders to bring up proposals on granting status to Dreamers.

Senators voted 81-18 to limit debate on a continuing resolution that would fund federal agencies for two weeks. The supermajority approval means that the proposal can’t be filibustered.

Late Friday, a similar vote failed to advance right before parts of the government ran out of money at midnight.

The last time the government partially shut down was in 2013, as Republicans protested the implementation of Obamacare. It lasted for two weeks, and was the first budgetary impasse in Congress since 1995.

Sixteen Democrats rejected Monday’s deal, including Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ). Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) voted “no” alongside the dissenting Democrats.

“I’m confident we can get 60 votes on a DACA bill,” Schumer said, explaining his “yes” vote, referring to Republican promises of an imminent debate on the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

DACA gave protection from deportation proceedings to some 800,000 US residents brought to the country as children. Late last year, the Trump administration said the program would end in March.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) promised his Democratic counterparts that the Senate would consider DACA legislation by Feb. 8 — the next time the federal government is scheduled to run out of money (assuming the legislation advanced by the Senate becomes law).

If it does pass the House, it will likely be without many of Schumer’s colleagues. In a press conference before the vote, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said she expected members of her caucus would be rejecting the deal.

“We want transparency in what we do, and bipartisanship in our solutions,” Pelosi said. “What I see on the Senate side does not look that way to me.”

Democratic opposition, however, is a non-factor in the House. A spending bill passed the lower chamber 230-197 on Thursday with the support of only six Democrats.

The status of any DACA bill is much more uncertain outside of the Senate, even if Democrats can muster the support next month to clear the 60-vote filibuster threshold. House Republicans have urged Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to take a hardline, calling for an intensification of the crackdown on undocumented immigrants before a considering a DACA proposal.

And as Schumer noted Monday morning, the White House has not been clear about what sort of immigration proposals President Trump would sign into law.

“The reason the Republican majority had such difficulty finding consensus is they could never get a firm grip on what the President of their party wanted to do,” he said.