Update, January 23, 12:35 ET
The New York Times reports that the House approved the short-term spending bill on Monday (January 22). That same evening, President Donald Trump signed the bill, officially ending the shutdown and reopening the federal government. The bill will fund the government through February 8 and provide six years of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides health insurance for nearly 9 million children in low-income households. Although the shutdown ends an impasse in Congress, a decision still looms on the fate of many young immigrants who benefit from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
In an 81-18 vote, Democrats reached an agreement with Republicans on a funding measure that would allow the government to run through February 18 in exchange for a promise from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that the Senate will take up legislation that may shield young immigrants known as Dreamers from deportation.
Last week, 40 Democratic senators blocked a temporary spending bill that was approved by the House, insisting that they would not vote on a bill unless it protected young immigrants who benefit from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Many of them, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), also urged that the spending bill include hurricane disaster relief for Puerto Rico.
On Friday (January 19) at midnight, Congress failed to reach an agreement on the spending measure leading to the three-day government shutdown.
After a a frantic weekend of partisan rancor—with both Republican and Democratic leaders blaming each other for the impasse—Schumer announced today on the Senate floor that he and McConnell had agreed on a temporary spending bill, adding that lawmakers would continue to debate a “global agreement” on the fate of Dreamers, the New York Times reports.
Since the announcement this afternoon, some immigration activists have criticized Democratic leaders for failing to agree on a solid deal that would protect DACA recipients. With DACA set to expire on March 5, 2018, they have been urging lawmakers to reach a bipartisan deal.
Here are a few of their responses:
Cristina Jimenez, executive director and co-founder of United We Dream:
Trump killed DACA and then he and his staff blew up bipartisan progress. Instead of standing up for principle and for the lives of young people, Congressional leaders met the moment with games.
Senators who voted today for the promise of a symbolic vote on the Dream Act are not resisting Trump–they are enablers. Republicans played games too, holding the Dream Act hostage and pitted the safety of immigrant youth against children’s healthcare, proving their cruelty to the world.
Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America:
A promise from known liars Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan or Donald Trump isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, yet despite that fact, most Senate Democrats, including Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, voted to allow Donald Trump to continue to subject an ever growing number of [DREAMers] to lives threatened by deportation from the only home they’ve ever known. That’s not what moral courage or leadership in the face of Trump’s hate looks like, and it sure as hell isn’t a display of competent negotiating skills.
Héctor Figueroa, president of 32BJ SEIU:
Once again, Republicans took this country, and the livelihoods of many of our members, to the brink for no good reason. Republicans control both houses of Congress and the presidency: they own this shutdown. Now, America is faced with the choice of a shutdown or more broken promises from Republicans.
The American people who overwhelmingly support Dreamers want more bi-partisanship in Congress. They are tired of being left in suspense as to whether Republicans will actually do their jobs. Unless Republicans in Congress get it together for February 8, they are going to be in for a reckoning on November 6.
The government shutdown won’t officially end until the House of Representatives approves the Senate measure, which sources characterize as a formality.