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UPDATE: Congress Passes Bill To End Government Shutdown

Congress has voted to restore funding through Feb. 8 after senators made an agreement to pursue immigration bills in the future. The stopgap spending measure heads to President Trump’s desk

THE LATEST on the budget battle and the government shutdown:

6:30 p.m.

Prominent immigrant advocacy groups are skewering Democratic senators for relenting in a fight that linked immigration changes to continued government funding.

The youth group United We Dream says Senate Democrats who supported a deal to keep the government running through Feb. 8 are “enablers” of President Donald Trump’s agenda.

The Los Angeles-based Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights says Democrats “need to grow some courage.”

The American Civil Liberties Union says Republicans and Democrats “betrayed our American values and allowed bigotry and fear to prevail.”

America’s Voice executive director Frank Sharry says he was moved to tears of disappointment that Democrats “blinked.”

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6:15 p.m.

Congress has passed a stopgap spending bill, sending the measure to President Trump’s desk to end the partial shutdown of the federal government, now in its third day.

The White House has indicated Trump will sign the bill in time for normal operations to resume by Tuesday morning.

The bill passed the Senate on a 81-18 vote, but the real hurdle was the procedural vote earlier in the day requiring at least 60 votes. That’s where the measure hit a snafu late Friday night, triggering the stalemate. The House later passed the 17-day extension by a 266-150 vote.

Shortly before the Monday procedural vote was set to begin, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., announced that he would vote to reopen the government along with enough Democrats needed to advance the bill. After 24 hours of furious negotiation over plans to consider immigration legislation in the coming weeks, the Senate voted to move forward with the continuing resolution, which would fund the government through Feb. 8.

In exchange for his support, Schumer said, he has received assurances from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that if an agreement isn’t reached by then, the GOP leader will bring a vote to the floor on legislation to grant legal status to those protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, roughly 700,000 immigrants who are in the country illegally after being brought here as children. The bill also extends the expired Children’s Health Insurance Program for six years.

McConnell says Democrats caved because they realized holding out for a DACA deal tied to the funding deal was not wise politically.

“I think if we’ve learned anything during this process it’s that a strategy to shut down the government over the issue of illegal immigration is something that the American people didn’t understand,” McConnell said.

Schumer, however, argued that blame for the weekend-long stalemate lay at the president’s feet.

“The reason the Republican majority had such difficulty finding consensus is they could never get a firm grip on what the president of their party wanted to do. These days, you never know who to deal with when it comes to the Republicans,” Schumer said. “The Republican leaders told me to work out a deal with the White House. The White House said, work it out with Republican leaders on the Hill. Separately, President Trump turned away from not one, but two bipartisan compromises. Each would have avoided this shutdown.”

In statement later Monday, Trump said that with the government on the path to reopening, the administration would work on immigration legislation — but “only if it’s good for our country.”

“I am 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,” Trump said. “As I’ve always said, once the government is funded, my administration will work towards solving the problem of very unfair illegal immigration. We will make a long-term deal on immigration if and only if it’s good for our country.”

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4:55 p.m.

Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana has voted against a bipartisan agreement to re-open the federal government after a three-day shutdown. He was the only “no” vote Monday among 10 incumbent Democrats facing re-election this year in states won by President Donald Trump in 2016.

Tester says the budget deal did not include funding for community health centers important to his rural state, nor did it add resources for border security.

Tester says that while pundits have focused on immigration, “this was always about Montana for me and I just won’t allow Washington to keep failing our state.”

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is blasting Tester for “engaging in political games with vital government funding” and says the two-term senator voted alongside the Senate’s most liberal Democrats.

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Celebrating their bipartisan effort, senators gather outside the chamber following a procedural vote aimed at reopening the government, at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018.

4:25 p.m.

The Senate has approved legislation to make sure federal workers get paid for the three-day government shutdown.

The unanimous voice vote sends the measure to the House, where approval is expected.

Under the law, workers aren’t paid when there’s a lapse in funding for the government — even if they’re deemed essential and have to show up to work.

Monday’s measure would fix that and make sure every federal worker would be paid during the shutdown that began Saturday.

The measure would also add retroactive pay language to a stopgap spending bill to reopen the government that passed the Senate Monday. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the legislation as soon as he receives it.

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4:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump is meeting with a pair of moderate Democratic senators at the White House Monday afternoon to discuss immigration.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders says West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Alabama Sen. Doug Jones are meeting with the president to discuss the legislative path forward after the three-day government shutdown is ended.

The red-state lawmakers both broke with the majority of their party Friday on a vote to keep the government open. But enough Democrats withheld their support from the measure in an effort to force progress on legislation to address immigration policy.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pledging to bring up immigration legislation next month if agreement isn’t reached by Feb. 8.

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3:25 p.m.

The No. 2 Senate Republican says President Donald Trump is eager to involve himself in the immigration debate and “reach a solution.”

Texas Sen. John Cornyn says he and five other GOP senators met Monday with Trump at the White House soon after Democrats halted their blockade against a bill ending the government shutdown.

Cornyn says they discussed how to address immigration issues “in creative ways.”

Sens. Charles Grassley of Iowa, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, David Perdue of Georgia, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and James Lankford of Oklahoma also met with Trump. Several of them are among the harder-line Republicans on immigration.

Democrats let the bill ending the shutdown advance after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he intended to reach a bipartisan deal on immigration and budget issues.

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2:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he is pleased that congressional Democrats “have come to their senses” and abandoned their filibuster that shut down the federal government. Trump says his administration will make a long-term immigration deal “if and only if it’s good for our country.”

Trump issued a statement Monday afternoon after roughly 25 senators from both parties helped negotiate an end to the federal government shutdown. It was read by spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders at a press briefing.

Trump said he was glad the government will be funded. He continued: “Once the government is funded, my administration will work toward solving the problem of very unfair illegal immigration.”

He added: “We will make a long term deal on immigration if and only if it’s good for our country.”

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1:55 p.m.

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine says Monday is “a day to celebrate” after roughly 25 senators from both parties helped negotiate an end to the government shutdown.

The Republican says the group shared a common determination to keep the government running while doing something about “Dreamers” who were brought to the country as children and are now here illegally. Collins says a group of 17 senators grew to a quarter of the Senate over the weekend.

Several Democrats who were part of that group dropped their objections Monday after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made a final offer to try to reach bipartisan solutions on immigration and other issues by early February.

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Vice President Mike Pence.

1:30 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence is praising a Senate agreement to reopen the federal government.

Pence says before a dinner in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (neh-ten-YAH’-hoo) that the shutdown is ending “thanks to the firm stand taken by President Trump” and congressional Republicans.

Pence says Americans know a “minority” in the Senate chose to shut down the government. He said, “But the Schumer shutdown failed.” He was referring to Senate Demoratic Leader Chuck Schumer.

Pence was joined by Netanyahu for statements at the prime minister’s residence before dinner with their spouses.

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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.

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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.

President Trump tweeted that argument on Monday morning.

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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.

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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.

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The government shutdown is set to sow more disruption and political peril Monday after the Senate inched closer but ultimately fell short of an agreement that would have reopened federal agencies before the beginning of the workweek.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said negotiations lasted late into the night, with a vote to break a Democratic filibuster on a short-term funding bill scheduled for noon Monday. Under the proposal taking shape, Democrats 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 Democrats appeared to be holding out for a firmer commitment from McConnell. “We have yet to reach an agreement on a path forward,” Schumer said late Sunday.

McConnell’s comments followed hours of behind-the-scenes talks between the leaders and rank-and-file lawmakers over how to end the display of legislative dysfunction, which began at midnight Friday after Democrats blocked a temporary spending measure. Democrats have sought to use the spending bill to win concessions, including protections for roughly 700,000 younger immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children.

Republicans have appeared increasingly confident that Democrats were bearing the brunt of criticism for the shutdown and that they would ultimately buckle. The White House and GOP leaders said they would not negotiate with Democrats on immigration until the government is reopened.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky faces a tough choice — irritate the GOP base and work with Democrats or risk passing legislation that is not very meaningful

President Donald Trump on Monday accused Democrats of prioritizing services and security for noncitizens over U.S. citizens. “Not good,” his first tweet said. In a second tweet, he said, “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 first 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.

There were indications Sunday that Democratic resolve was beginning to waver, with growing worries that a prolonged shutdown could prove to be an electoral headache for the party just as it has grown more confident about prospects in November midterm elections.

Although they initially dug in on a demand for an immigration deal, Democrats had shifted to blaming the shutdown on the incompetence of Republicans and Trump, seeming sensitive to being seen by voters as willing to tie up government operations to protect immigrants.

Trump, who regularly disrupted negotiations in recent weeks, had been a relatively subdued player in the weekend debate. He has not appeared in public since Friday afternoon. The White House said he was in regular contact with Republican leaders, but he has not reached out to any Democrats, a White House official said.

Democrats are facing intense pressure from their base to solve the issue over the young immigrants, commonly referred to as “Dreamers,” and they are skeptical of Republicans’ credibility when offering to take up the issue. Whether Trump would back the emerging plan or any later proposal on immigration is an open question.

While lawmakers feuded, signs of the shutdown were evident at national parks and in some federal agencies. Social Security and most other safety-net programs were unaffected by the lapse in federal spending authority. Critical government functions continued, with uniformed service members, health inspectors and law enforcement officers set to work without pay.

Lawmakers were mindful that the political stakes would soar Monday morning, when thousands of federal workers would be told to stay home or, in many cases, work without pay. What was still a weekend burst of Washington dysfunction could spiral into a broader crisis with political consequences in November.

That threat prompted a bipartisan group of Senate moderates to huddle for a second day Sunday in hopes of crafting a plan to reopen the government. The group was set to meet again Monday morning.

The emerging approach found advocates in South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has been trying to broker an immigration deal, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Republicans who rejected an earlier short-term proposal. GOP Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, another previous no-vote, announced he would vote in favor of reopening the government Monday.

Graham said no deal had been reached by the moderate group because Democrats were not yet on board. “To my Democratic friends, don’t overplay your hand,” he told reporters. “A government shutdown is not a good way to get an outcome legislatively.”

The vote Monday will prove to be a test of unity and resolve among Democrats. Five Democrats from states won by Trump broke ranks in a vote Friday. The measure gained 50 votes to proceed to 49 against, but 60 were needed to break a Democratic filibuster.

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