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20th June 2018

US Senate votes to end government shutdown


By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON

The Senate voted Monday to end a thee-day government shutdown as its full effects began to be felt with hundreds of thousands of federal workers forced to stay home at the start of the work week.

The Senate voted 81-18 to procedurally advance legislation to fund the government through Feb. 8 in exchange for a pledge from the Senate’s Republican leadership to take up a renewal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration protections for those brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

A vote on final passage is needed before the House of Representatives can take up the measure. House Speaker Paul Ryan told Fox News earlier Monday the House of Representatives would pass the bill, and the chamber appeared set to quickly follow suit Monday afternoon.

A bipartisan group of senators had been lobbying Democratic and Republican leadership Sunday on the compromise measure, but an expected early Monday morning vote was called off at the last minute, and delayed until mid-day.

“So long as the government remains open, it would be my intention to take up legislation that would address DACA, border security, and related issues,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor ahead of the vote. “Let me be clear, this immigration debate will have a level playing field at the outset and an amendment process that is fair to all sides.”

Senate Democrats had hinged their support for any spending bill on DACA’s renewal. McConnell’s vow was sufficient to guarantee the vast majority of the party lent support to the short-term funding bill.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer took to the Senate floor to slam President Donald Trump whose “unwillingness to compromise”, he said, prompted the shutdown.

Schumer said he is “confident” he can gather 60 Senate votes to advance a DACA bill as negotiations resume.

The “Republican majority now has 17 days to prevent the Dreamers from being deported,” he said, using the popular name for DACA recipients.

Trump shot back later in a statement in which he said he is “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 have 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 is good for our country,” he said.

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

Trump is expected to sign the legislation into law to officially end the shutdown after the House signs off.

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