Democrats vote to reopen government, and activists say they've caved

Laura Christensen
January 23, 2018

The last shutdown, in October 2013, lasted more than two weeks, and more than 800,000 federal employees were furloughed.

The Senate will vote at 1 a.m. EST on Monday on whether to advance a measure to fund the government through February 8, unless Democrats agree to hold it sooner, McConnell said on Saturday.

"But they can go nowhere until Senate Democrats realize that the extreme path their leader has charted leads them nowhere", said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Throughout the day there were few outward signs of progress, as lawmakers took turns delivering animated speeches to near empty chambers to explain why the other party is to blame. "They don't want to do it but are powerless!"

Some national parks have been closed, as well as agencies deemed non-essential.

Social Security and most other safety-net programs were unaffected by the lapse in federal spending authority. However, essential federal services and military activity are continuing. The contours of that proposal were still taking shape tonight.

Trump is calling on Republicans to invoke the "nuclear option" to try to pass a "real, long term" spending bill rather than continue funding the government through a short-term measure.

Graham said Miller is out of the "mainstream" with his immigration views. Rand Paul, both Republicans.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Cali.), who voted against advancing the bill, told reporters, "I don't believe [McConnell] made any commitment whatsoever, and I think it would be foolhardy to believe he made a commitment".

Graham said no deal had been reached by the moderate group because Democrats were not yet on board.

The revelation comes as the federal government shutdown stretches into its third day.

The White House has blamed the Democrats for the USA government shutdown, accusing them of "holding government funding hostage" in a voicemail message on its answering machine.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan told "Fox and Friends" Monday that if the Senate approved a temporary spending bill to reopen the government through February 8, the House would approve it, too.

Democrats have sought to use the spending bill to win concessions, including protections for roughly 700,000 younger immigrants brought illegally to the children. I know, they were dragged here by their illegal parents. "It's very unpopular and they're trying to find a way out of it".

Absent a breakthrough, the vote Monday will prove to be a test of unity and resolve among Democrats.

This craziness is exactly why people voted for Trump last November. Democrat Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota said the vote might be delayed if senators need more time, but Republican John Cornyn of Texas, the Senate's No. 2 Republican, said the noon vote was still on.

Instead of inserting himself into the negotiations, Trump spent much of the weekend glued to his television. "As long as Stephen Miller is in charge of negotiation on immigration, we are going nowhere".

But Democrats appeared to be holding out for a firmer commitment from McConnell.

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.

After final passage in the Senate, it will go to the House, and GOP leaders have signaled they are supportive.

Furthermore, Democrats view Trump as an infuriating bargaining partner, pointing chiefly to his failed 11th-hour talks with Schumer on Friday.

Some congressional Republicans have been open to negotiating on just a DACA solution, while others, like President Trump, want it tied to broader border security efforts, like building a wall on the southern border.

Still he blasted President Donald Trump over the shutdown, saying, "the great dealmaking president sat on the sidelines" as the deal came together. Two days later, Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., on ABC's "This Week".

Other reports by My Hot News

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