The Senate voted Monday afternoon to end the federal government shutdown, as Republicans and Democrats were finally able to reach a short-term agreement that keeps the government funded.
The deal keeps the government up and running through Feb. 8. In return, Republicans agreed that the upper chamber will address a legislative solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA, according to The New York Times.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York announced the agreement from the Senate floor.
“After several discussions, offers, counter-offers, the Republican leader and I have come to an arrangement,” he said.
“We will vote today to reopen the government to continue negotiating a global agreement, with the commitment that, if an agreement isn’t reached by February 8, the Senate will immediately proceed to consideration of legislation dealing with DACA.”
“In a few hours, the government will reopen,” Schumer said. “We have a lot to do.”
In and of itself, the Senate’s procedural vote did not officially end the shutdown. The upper chamber still had to “grant final approval” of the bill, according to The Times, at which point it will move to the House for passage.
But final passage of the measure was seen as nothing more than a formality, with Republicans and Democrats alike seemingly relieved to put the whole affair behind them. The Daily Wire reported that President Donald Trump was expected to sign the bill right away.
Even with the shutdown seemingly over for now, lawmakers could find themselves in a similar position in just a matter of weeks.
The shutdown originally stemmed from the fact that Democrats demanded an immediate legislative solution in regard to DACA. Republicans, though, including Trump, did not want to grant amnesty to DACA recipients without receiving funding for increased border security measures — including a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border — in return.
Democrats could have stopped the government from being shut down by supporting a bill that would have funded the government for the next four weeks and ensured that the Children’s Health Insurance Program is extended for the next six years. But Democrat leaders in Congress opposed the bill on the basis that it did not address the roughly 700,000 illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.
If an agreement cannot be reached soon regarding immigration reform, another shutdown is a conceivable possibility.
Still, members of both parties seemed optimistic about the deal reached between Schumer and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
“I think if we learned anything during this process, it’s that a strategy to shut down the government over an issue of illegal immigration is something the American people didn’t understand. And would not have understood in the future,” McConnell said before the Senate voted, according to NBC News.
“So I’m glad we’ve gotten past that and we have a chance now to get back to work,” he added.
On the other side of the aisle, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner expressed similar sentiments.
“We got a path clear on how we’re going to get a full year budget and we got a path clear on who we’re going to start the immigration debate,” he said. “I think that’s significant. That’s not what we had before.”
In addition to funding the government through Feb. 8, the bill passed by the Senate extends CHIP for 6 years and suspends some Obamacare taxes.
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