Senate leaders reach agreement to reopen government

4 weeks 23 hours 58 minutes ago Monday, January 22 2018 Jan 22, 2018 Monday, January 22, 2018 11:58:00 AM CST January 22, 2018 in News
By: The Associated Press

WASHINGTON D.C. (AP) — The Latest on the budget battle (all times local):

12:55 p.m.

It looks like the government shutdown will end soon.

The Senate has advanced a bill reopening federal agencies through Feb. 8 after Democrats relented and lifted their blockade against the legislation.

The shutdown began Saturday after Democrats derailed a Republican measure that would have kept government open until Feb. 16. Democrats wanted to pressure the GOP to cut a deal protecting young immigrants from deportation and boosting federal spending.

Moderates from both parties pressured leaders to end the shutdown and compromise.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats agreed to back the bill reopening government after he and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to begin debating an immigration bill by Feb. 8.

The Senate vote was 81-18 — well above the 60 votes needed. The Senate still must vote on final passage to send the bill to the House.

12:35 p.m.

Senate leaders have reached an agreement to reopen the government.

Democrats have yielded and ended their delaying tactics against a bill financing federal agencies through Feb. 8.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says in exchange, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has agreed to begin debating immigration by that date.

McConnell says the end to the standoff shows "the American people didn't understand" why Democrats shut down the government because they wanted to help "illegal immigrants."

The Senate has started a vote to advance the bill reopening government. It is expected to pass easily, and House approval is expected later.

__

12:10 p.m.

Democrats are aligning behind a plan to reopen the federal government as the Senate heads toward a key vote.

Several Democratic senators predict a proposal to fund the government until Feb. 8 will move forward, overcoming a Democratic filibuster. That would clear the way for an end to the three-day shutdown.

Democrats appear to have jumped on board after two days of negotiations that ended with new reassurances from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that the Senate will consider immigration proposals in the coming weeks.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Monday morning she believed Democrats and Republicans now have "a path forward."

Florida Democrat Bill Nelson is predicting a resounding yes from Democrats on the plan.

__

10:35 a.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he hopes and intends to resolve immigration and a host of other issues by early February in an effort to come to bipartisan agreement to reopen the federal government.

Senate Democrats blocked a House-passed temporary funding bill to reopen the government through Feb. 16. A pending Senate measure would last through Feb. 8.

Opening the Senate Monday, McConnell said that if they could not find bipartisan solutions on immigration, military spending, disaster aid and other issues by the Feb. 8 deadline then he would hold a vote on those matters. Top Democrat Chuck Schumer did not appear on the floor to respond.

Several members of both parties met Monday morning to try and resolve the shutdown mess.

__

10:25 a.m.

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney is defending President Donald Trump's lack of outreach to Democratic lawmakers during the government shutdown.

Mulvaney discussed the shutdown on MSNBC Monday morning.

Trump did not speak with any Democratic senators over the weekend. Asked why, Mulvaney said Trump spoke with Democrats before the shutdown and will speak to them when it is over.

But he says: "we are not going to negotiate immigration in the middle of the shutdown."

__

9:05 a.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says if the Senate approves a temporary spending bill to reopen the government through Feb. 8, the House will approve it, too.

Senate Democrats had blocked a stopgap measure passed by the House to keep the federal bureaucracy operating through Feb. 16. But speaking on "Fox and Friends," Ryan says the new date works for the House.

The Wisconsin Republican also says negotiations on an immigration deal are taking place in good faith. Democrats want to protect young immigrants in the country illegally and are skeptical of Republican pledges to bring up free-standing immigration legislation next month.

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut says on MSNBC he has "zero confidence" that Ryan will bring legislation to shield the roughly 700,000 immigrants known as "Dreamers."

___

8:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump is accusing Democrats of prioritizing services and security for noncitizens over U.S. citizens.

He says in a tweet Monday: "Not good!"

Some government functions shut down over the weekend. Democrats are rejecting a funding bill until Republicans agree to protect 700,000 immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

The Republican president says in a second tweet Monday that "Democrats have shut down our government in the interests of their far left base. They don't want to do it but are powerless!"

Trump's earlier tweet appeared to undercut comments by his legislative affairs director, Marc Short, who told CNN that the immigrants in question are law-abiding and "productive to our society."

Short says the administration wants to "find a pathway for them" to stay in the U.S.

___

7:55 a.m.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo says the government shutdown won't affect the spy agency's operations.

He tells "CBS This Morning" in an interview Monday: "We're going to continue crushing our adversaries whether the government's open or closed."

A dispute in Congress over spending and immigration forced scores of federal government agencies and outposts to close their doors early Saturday. But many government functions, particularly those involving national security, are considered essential and won't be affected.

Pompeo also says he doesn't agree that the stalemate on Capitol Hill that led to the shutdown is a signal of dysfunction in Washington.

He says, "The American people are having complicated discussions about their priorities." He says that's entirely appropriate in a democracy.

___

1:45 a.m.

The government shutdown is set to complicate the beginning of the workweek. Over the weekend, the Senate inched closer but ultimately fell short of an agreement that would have reopened federal agencies.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said negotiations were still underway late into Sunday night, with a vote to break a Democratic filibuster on a short-term funding bill scheduled for noon Monday.

Under the proposal taking shape, Democratic would agree to a three-week spending measure — until Feb. 8 — in return for a commitment from the Republican leadership in the Senate to address immigration policy and other pressing legislative matters in the coming weeks. But there is no agreement yet.

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