Senators agree stop-gap spending deal to reset US government
McConnell pledge to consider immigration legislation paves way for ending shutdown
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said he and majority leader Mitch McConnell have reached an agreement to pass a short-term spending Bill on Monday and reopen the government, ending a three-day shutdown.
Mr Schumer accepted Mr McConnell’s pledge to consider immigration legislation. “We will vote today to reopen the government,” said Mr Schumer on the Senate floor shortly before a procedural vote on the stopgap Bill. “We expect that a bipartisan Bill will receive fair consideration and an up or down vote on the floor,” said Mr Schumer, referring to the immigration measure.
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, said Mr Nelson.
Mr 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.
Democratic Senators demanded a more binding promise from Mr 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 Febuary 8th.
“Hopefully we can resolve this in the next day or two,” said Democrat Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota 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.”
Mr McConnell said on Sunday that he intended to begin a debate on immigration in the next few weeks.
Democrats want legislation to protect undocumented immigrants brought to the US 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 around noon on Mr McConnell’s Bill to fund the government until Febuary 8th Democrat Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota said the vote might be delayed if Senators need more time. – Bloomberg