Senate Votes Overwhelmingly to End Government Shutdown

click to enlarge Senate Votes Overwhelmingly to End Government Shutdown
Pete Marovich/The New York Times
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) at a news conference about the government shutdown at the Capitol in Washington, Jan. 20, 2018. Early Saturday morning, Schumer called for the president to sit down with congressional leaders from both parties to work out a deal that would allow the government to be open on Monday.

© 2018 New York Times News Service

The Senate voted overwhelmingly Monday to end the three-day-old government shutdown, with Democrats joining Republicans to clear the way for passage of a short-term spending package that would fund the government through Feb. 8 in exchange for a promise from Republican leaders to address the fate of the young immigrants in the country illegally.

“In a few hours, the government will reopen,” said Sen. 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 Donald 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.

Schumer, speaking on the Senate floor, announced that he and Sen. 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 immigrants brought to the country illegally 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 McConnell to allow a vote on a measure to protect the immigrants from deportation.

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.

“We’re going to reopen the government,” Sen. Mark Warner D-Va., whose state is home to thousands of federal workers, told reporters. 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.”

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