UPDATE 2 — 1/22, 9:31 p.m. EST: President Trump has signed legislation to end the government shutdown, rubber-stamping a bill passed by the House and Senate earlier Monday. The continuing resolution attached to H.R. 195 will fund the federal government through Feb. 8.
UPDATE — 1/22, 1:32 p.m. EST: A weekend of negotiations to pass a short-term government funding measure concluded Monday when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to take up immigration legislation in the near-future in exchange for Democratic support on a continuing resolution that will fund federal operations for three weeks.
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that if a bill which includes protection for approximately 800,000 DACA recipients is not agreed to by the Feb. 8 funding deadline, separate legislation will be considered that is “neutral and fair to all sides.”
The Senate later voted 81–18 to end debate and move to a straight up-or-down vote on the bill which appropriates government funding, including money for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The House is expected to approve the short-term spending measure later Monday.
Following a failed vote in the U.S. Senate just before midnight on Friday, non-essential services of the federal government were temporarily halted due to a lack of funding. The spending measure was attached to an unrelated piece of legislation agreed to along party-lines Thursday by the House of Representatives.
Specifically, the “continuing appropriations” provision in H.R. 195 would have funded the government through Feb. 16, but congressional Democrats objected to a lack of protections for young immigrants after the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program expires in early March.
Last week, President Trump abruptly rejected a bi-partisan immigration proposal which would have continued DACA, provided funding for increased security on the U.S. southern border and boosted military spending.
House and Senate Democrats then sought to attach a DACA extension to the short-term spending measure, but the White House refused to negotiate on the program independent of related security issues.
Failure to secure four weeks worth of government funding sent President Trump and congressional members on both sides of the aisle into fits, with Republicans and Democrats blaming each other for their unwillingness to compromise.
“I reluctantly put the border wall on the table for discussion — even that was not enough to entice the president to finish the deal,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said about his Friday meeting with Trump.
“What has transpired since that meeting in the Oval Office is indicative of the entire tumultuous and chaotic process Republicans have engaged in the negotiations thus far. Even though President Trump seemed to like an outline of a deal in the room, he did not press his party in Congress to accept it.”
Responding emphatically after the failed Senate vote, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement, which read:
“We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands. This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators. When Democrats start paying our armed forces and first responders we will reopen negotiations on immigration reform.”
As a result of Congress’ failure to release federal funds, nearly a million government workers are expected to be furloughed if no temporary stopgap spending measures are enacted by next week.
One major difference between the current shutdown and the last time government shut down services in 2013 is the Trump administration’s pledge to keep national parks open. While access roads will not be blocked and the public can still visit veteran memorials, the sites will be unstaffed and campgrounds will be closed.
As for the U.S. military, all personnel deemed essential to national security will remain on-the-job, including troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, along with civilian Defense Department workers.
While the rhetoric in Washington has been tough over the past week-plus, both the House and Senate are set to meet Saturday to resolve the partisan differences that exist between members and work to secure three week’s worth of funding.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated.
[AP] [Reuters] [Washington Post] [CNN] [ABC News] [The Hill]