Congress has approved a bipartisan agreement to re-open the federal government after a three-day partial shutdown.
The House approved the bill, 266-150, hours after the Senate backed it, 81-18. President Donald Trump is expected to quickly sign the measure to fund government operations through Feb. 8.
The votes set the stage for hundreds of thousands of federal workers to return Tuesday, cutting short what could have become a messy and costly impasse.
Senate Democrats reluctantly voted in favor of the bill, relenting in return for Republican assurances that the Senate will soon take up the plight of young immigrant “dreamers” and other contentious issues. Democrats from states won by Trump in 2016 broke with progressives looking to satisfy liberals’ and immigrants’ demands.
The vote set the stage for hundreds of thousands of federal workers to return on Tuesday, cutting short what could have become a messy and costly impasse.
But by relenting, the Democrats prompted a backlash from immigration activists and liberal base supporters who wanted them to fight longer and harder for legislation to protect from deportation the 700,0090 or so younger immigrants who were brought to the country as children and now are here illegally.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s commitment to quickly tackle the issue of the “dreamers” was contingent on Democrats providing enough votes now for a stopgap spending funding measure lasting a little less than three weeks. Sixty votes were needed to end the Democrats’ filibuster, and the party’s senators provided 33 of the 81 the measure got. Eighteen senators, including members of both parties, were opposed.
Hours later the Senate approved the final bill by the same 81-18 vote, sending it to the House and President Donald Trump for expected approval so the government can reopen. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders predicted that operations would return to normal by Tuesday morning.
Democrats climbed onboard after two days of negotiations that ended with new reassurances from Senate Majority Leader McConnell that the Senate would consider immigration proposals in the coming weeks. But there were deep divides in the Democratic caucus over strategy, as red-state lawmakers fighting for their survival broke with progressive looking satisfy liberals’ and immigrants’ demands.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer lent his backing to the agreement during a speech on the chamber’s floor. “Now there is a real pathway to get a bill on the floor and through the Senate,” he said of legislation to halt any deportation efforts aimed at the younger immigrants.
However, the agreement to reopen the government provided no certainty for the “dreamers,” and the short-term stopgap sets up another potential crisis point on Feb. 8.
PBS NewsHour will update this story as it develops.