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Senate votes to end shutdown

Congress plans to start deliberating on the next farm bill later this year. The Senate and House ag committees have begun with initial hearings on the Hill and in the field.
Deal buys three weeks for Congress to resolve spending and immigration disputes.

by Bloomberg News

The government shutdown was poised to end after members of the Senate were able to break their impasse over a new short-term spending bill after working through the weekend.

Here are the latest developments, updated throughout the day:

Senate Vote Clears Way to Reopen U.S. Government (12:57 p.m.)

The Senate moved to end a three-day shutdown of the U.S. government after Democrats agreed to a deal that would buy almost three weeks’ time for Congress to resolve the disputes over spending and immigration that led to the closing.

The chamber agreed 81 to 18 to end debate, a procedural move that clears the way for a temporary funding plan through Feb. 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.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had “come to an arrangement,” with Schumer saying he believed there was a “real pathway” to get a bill dealing with immigration on the floor of the Senate. But Monday’s bargain may only postpone debates that illustrate the deep divisions among the two parties, conservatives in the House and President Donald Trump. 

For the shutdown to end, the House must also approve the bill and Trump must sign it as well. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California told colleagues on Sunday that the chamber will take up whatever the Senate passes, according to a Republican House member. The measure likely will clear the House, the lawmaker said.

Still, Speaker Paul Ryan has promised House Republicans that they will not be bound by any arrangement reached in the Senate on immigration to reopen the government, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows and Representative Doug Collins of Georgia said on Sunday.

Senate Democrats, who had sought firmer guarantees from McConnell on immigration, were initially reluctant to accept his terms. Democrats, and some Republicans, wanted language protecting people in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, as part of the spending bill to ensure it became law. Some Republicans have opposed such a move, calling it amnesty. 

Trump decided in September to end an Obama-era initiative that shielded them from deportation, effective in March, although he said Congress should act to protect them. The U.S. counts 690,000 people currently enrolled in DACA.

The White House had refused to negotiate over immigration, one of the Democrats’ central issues, while the government remained closed. Trump blamed Schumer for the shutdown.

-- Justin Blum

Senate Begins Vote That Could Break Stalemate (12:30 p.m.) 

The Senate began a procedural vote on a spending bill that would end the government shutdown as soon as Monday, shortly after Florida Democrat Bill Nelson predicted, "You’ll see a resounding yes.” 

“We’re going to reopen the government,” said Virginia Democrat Mark Warner, adding that members of his party have the assurances they need from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on spending and immigration.

McConnell’s plan would fund the government through Feb. 8. Advancing the spending bill would clear the way to reopen the government after a three-day shutdown, although that could merely delay the fight over immigration for several weeks.

Democrats want to protect young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation.

The dollar bounced and equity futures extended gains amid signs that the Senate would have enough votes to advance the stopgap bill. The dollar surged above 111 yen while the S&P 500 Index gained 0.4 percent.

-- Laura Litvan, Arit John, Anna Edgerton, Jack Fitzpatrick

Schumer Says Deal Reached to Reopen Government (12:24 p.m.)

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have reached an agreement to pass a short-term spending bill Monday and reopen the government, ending a three-day shutdown. Schumer accepted McConnell’s pledge to consider immigration legislation.

"We will vote today to reopen the government," Schumer said on the Senate floor shortly before a procedural vote on the stopgap bill. 

“We expect that a bipartisan bill on DACA will receive fair consideration and an up or down vote on the floor,” Schumer said, referring to the immigration measure.

-- Sahil Kapur

Key Democrats Predict Passage to End Impasse (12:02 p.m.) 

Key Senate Democrats, including Bill Nelson of Florida and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, predicted the Senate would have enough votes to advance a stopgap funding bill that would reopen the federal government. 

“You’ll see a resounding yes,” when the vote is called, Nelson said.Manchin called the talks “very positive” and also said he thought the measure would advance. Another Senate Democrat, Chris Coons of Delaware, said he was also encouraged by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s statements.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said: “You’ll hear from us shortly.”

-- Sahil Kapur, Erik Wasson and Laura Litvan

Democrats Seek Stronger Pledge Before Noon Vote (10:47 a.m.) 

Democratic senators demanded a more binding promise from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for a vote on immigration legislation in exchange for reopening the government, as the Senate prepared for a noon vote on a bill to fund the government until Feb. 8.

“Hopefully we can resolve this in the next day or two,” Democrat Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota told reporters after a bipartisan meeting of Senate moderates. GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said, "There’s a recognition getting to the debate on immigration is an important and that sooner is better than later.” 

McConnell of Kentucky said Sunday night that it was his "intention" to begin a debate on immigration in the next few weeks. Independent Angus King said he would "much rather have him say ‘I commit’ or ‘I will move to.’”

Democrats want legislation to protect undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, and Republicans are setting conditions for border security and enforcement.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said the majority leader should use stronger language to promise action on immigration if Democrats convince him that would be enough to end the shutdown.

The Senate is scheduled to take a procedural vote at noon on McConnell’s bill to fund the government until Feb. 8. Democrat Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota said the vote might be delayed if senators need more time, but Republican John Cornyn of Texas, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, said the noon vote was still on.

-- Laura Litvan, Arit John, Anna Edgerton

Here’s What Happened Sunday:

Two Republican holdouts, Senators Jeff Flake and Lindsey Graham said they would accept a deal offered by McConnell to keep the government open through Feb. 8. The majority leader said if an agreement isn’t reached on immigration and other issues by then, “it would be my intention to proceed to legislation that would address DACA, border security, and related issues." Democrats weren’t ready to sign on, though. The White House blasted Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has been leading a bipartisan effort to end the stalemate. White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley called Graham “an outlier” after he publicly criticized senior Trump aide Stephen Miller, known for hardline views on restricting immigration. "As long as Stephen Miller is in charge of negotiating immigration we are going nowhere,” Graham said. Gidley accused Graham of supporting "legislation that sides with people in this country illegally and unlawfully instead of our own American citizens.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic leader Chuck Schumer met after a bipartisan group of more than 20 Senate moderates spent the day trying to work out a funding deal. White House legislative director Marc Short expressed frustration late Sunday that the shutdown would carry into a third day, and reiterated the White House would not negotiate on immigration while the government remains closed. President Donald Trump said on Twitter that if the shutdown stalemate continues, Republicans should consider the so-called “nuclear option” in the Senate, which would allow them to vote on a long-term budget with a simple majority and no more short-term spending bills. McConnell rejected the idea.

--With assistance from Erik Wasson, Steven T. Dennis, Billy House and Yueqi Yang.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Laura Litvan in Washington at [email protected]; Arit John in Washington at [email protected]; Anna Edgerton in Washington at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at [email protected]

Laurie Asséo, Alexis Leondis

© 2018 Bloomberg L.P 

TAGS: Farm Policy
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