Senate Moves to End Government Shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) / Getty Images
January 22, 2018

By Susan Cornwell and Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. senators voted to move forward on legislation that would reopen the federal government until Feb. 8, ending a three-day standoff between Democrats and President Donald Trump's Republicans over immigration and border security.

Funding legislation cleared a procedural hurdle in the Senate and was expected to pass a full Senate vote promptly, allowing government to re-open.

Democrats had insisted that any short-term spending legislation to keep the government running include protections for young undocumented immigrants known as "Dreamers."

Republicans in turn said they would not negotiate on immigration until Democrats gave them the votes needed to reopen the government.

The shutdown, which began on the first anniversary of Trump's inauguration, threatened to undercut the president's self-crafted image as a dealmaker who would repair the broken culture in Washington.

The failure to reach a deal had forced Trump to cancel a planned weekend trip to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and created uncertainty around his scheduled trip this week to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Tens of thousands of federal workers had begun closing down operations on Monday, the first weekday since the shutdown, but essential services such as security and defense operations continued.

Funding for government operations expired at midnight on Friday and lawmakers worked through the weekend to solve the crisis. The outlines of a deal began emerging as a bipartisan group of senators held talks on Sunday and Monday morning.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said he had come to an arrangement with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell to keep the government open for the next three weeks and a plan to address the issue of the Dreamers, more than 700,000 immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children.

House of Representatives Republicans have been told by their leaders to plan on voting on a measure to re-open the government immediately.