Senate Votes to End Shutdown as Democrats are Promised Vote on DACA Legislation


On Monday, Jan. 22, Democrat and Republican Senate leaders reached a deal to end the government shutdown that had begun on Saturday. The deal saw moderate Democrats vote in favor of a continuing resolution to fund the federal government for the next three weeks that included temporary funds for the Children Health Insurance Program CHIP, funding for the program had expired in September. In exchange, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell(R-KY) promised Democrats that if an agreement had not been reached on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program DACA by Feb. 8, that the Senate would immediately vote on legislation dealing with DACA.

The DACA program was ended by the Trump administration last September ending protections for undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children. A recent ruling by a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to continue protection for DACA recipients. The Trump administration is attempting to appeal that court order to the Supreme Court.

On the Senate floor, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer(D-NY) said that if McConnell did not keep his promise that he would have breached the trust of not only Democrats but members of his own party as well.

Schumer also passed blame for the shutdown unto President Trump who had not been in contact with Schumer or party of any attempts to compromise since the shutdown started.

While the resolution passed in an 81-18 vote a group of 16 Democrats, including California’s Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, voted against the continuing resolution. Harris said before the vote that she didn’t believe McConnel had made any commitment on DACA and that it would have been “foolhardy” to believe him. After the vote, Harris said that McConnell’s promise fell short.

The agreement between Schumer and McConnell does not promise that any DACA legislation would actually be passed by the Senate. Nor does it promise what any DACA legislation would entail. A bill would be brought to the Senate floor and members of either party could bring amendments to the bill up to vote. In the end, even if the Senate does find a compromise and pass legislation on DACA, there are no promises that the House would vote on the bill or that it would be signed by the president. Such outcomes could lead to another shutdown of the federal government when the resolution passed by the Senate would expire.

As of now the House still has to vote on the continuing resolution passed by the Senate in order for the shutdown to come to a proper end.

Update: Jan. 22, 3:15 p.m.: The House of Representatives has passed the Senate’s continuing resolution that will end the government shutdown. 45 of the 193 House Democrats voted in favor of the resolution which passed 266-150. The government shutdown will end once the resolution is signed by the president.

Update: Jan. 22, 6:20 p.m.: President Trump has signed the continuing resolution ending the government shutdown.

This is a continuing story, please check back for updates.