Furloughs Begin as Congress Moves to End Shutdown


The U.S. Senate on Monday passed a three-week funding bill to reopen the federal government after a three-day shutdown, sending it to the House of Representatives for a final vote.

The House passed a stopgap bill last week that would have funded the federal government through February 16, but the change to the bill in the Senate forced House lawmakers to vote on the new terms.

The deal has been little consolation to immigration activists, who are eager to codify protections against deportation for people brought illegally to the U.S.as children.

The chamber agreed 81 to 18 to end debate, a procedural move that clears the way for a temporary funding plan through February 8 - the culmination of days of deal making that unfolded as both parties traded blame for the government closure that began at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. The vote was 81 to 18 to invoke cloture on debate and proceed to a vote on the underlying Continuing Resolution, the "continuing" part being funding the government, which is expected to pass (it needs only a simple majority).

On Saturday, Republicans and Democrats failed to reach an agreement as federal agencies began implementing shutdown procedures.

It was unclear whether there would be enough Democratic votes on Monday to advance a temporary spending bill.

But new polling from Harvard-Harris shows Democrats following Schumer's lead to shut down the government on the issue of illegal immigration was wildly unpopular among the majority of Americans.

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"The shutdown will get a lot worse tomorrow; today would be a good day to end it." Sen. White House chief of staff John Kelly and policy aide Stephen Miller - two officials who even some Republicans have criticized for their tough immigration stances - attended both meetings, according to NBC News. Until the White House is very clear what the president will sign, it's hard to say how likely a deal is to happen.

"As soon as the Senate voted to reopen the government, the President continued conversations on the next steps on responsible immigration reform", Sanders said.

The Republican president has vacillated on what sort of legislation he supports and McConnell now seems willing to let the Senate craft a deal on legal protections for Dreamers and beefing up immigration enforcement at US borders.

McConnell has said he intends to introduce a DACA bill if the government stays open and lawmakers can't make an agreement on the immigration program.

However, Schumer said that the temporary spending bill was far from a done deal, with the bill requring 60 votes to pass the Senate.

But Democrats have been skeptical that Republicans would actually allow a vote to protect the DREAMers before March.

Republicans agreed to address the immigration issue separate from the CR, though some Democratic activists weren't so sure."This is a bad, outrageous deal".

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