Congress ready to pass funding bill to reopen government | World Defense

Congress ready to pass funding bill to reopen government


Staff member
Nov 17, 2017
24,463 1,293 0
Congress ready to pass funding bill to reopen government
By Sara Shayanian and Allen Cone
Updated Jan. 22, 2018


Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, joined by a bipartisan working group of senators, talks with reporters about the successful Senate vote to reopen the government on the third day of a shutdown on Monday. Photo by Erin Schaff/UPI
| License Photo

Jan. 22 (UPI) -- The Senate voted overwhelmingly Monday afternoon to reopen the government but the 2 1/2-week spending agreement doesn't resolve an immigration issue that led to the federal shutdown.

Democrats agreed to advance the measure and the chamber passed it with a procedural vote of 81-18. Republicans opposing the deal were Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah.

The House and Senate are expected to make the final necessary votes on the measure Monday afternoon before it's sent to President Donald Trump.

"I am pleased the Democrats and Congress have come to the senses and are now willing to fund our great military, border patrol, first responders and insurance for vulnerable children," Trump said in a statement. "As I have always said, once the government is funded my administration will work toward solving the problem of very unfair illegal immigration. We will make a long-term deal on immigration if and only if it is good for our country."

Previously, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he would vote to end the shutdown with the expectation that the Republican Party will abide by an agreement to address the issue of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which has been a key sticking point in negotiations.

The deal is a short-term fix, funding the government through Feb. 8, with ongoing negotiations on immigration and federal spending.

One hour before a midnight deadline Friday, the Senate voted 50-49 in favor ending a filibuster on spending through Feb. 16 with 60 votes necessary to move the measure along. That spending bill and the one Monday includes funding for six years for Children's Health Insurance Program, whose funding expired Friday.

"The process will be neutral and fair to all sides," Schumer said. "We expect that a bipartisan bill on DACA will receive fair consideration and an up-or-down vote on the floor.

"The Republican majority has 17 days to prevent the Dreamers from being deported. Mr. President, we have a way to address the fate of the Dreamers, right now, instead of waiting until March."

The DACA system, implemented under former President Barack Obama and repealed by Trump, expires March 5.

Although Democrats have been skeptical of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's commitment to the immigration cause, Schumer said he was "encouraged" by the Kentucky Republican's promises in negotiations.

"I realize there's a trust deficit up here generally, but I think one of the first steps to regaining that trust is for the leader to make that commitment and follow through on it," Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, said, noting that McConnell's pledge to Democrats is "all they're gonna get."

Schumer, who said earlier Monday there were 60 votes to reopen the government, has criticized the Republican Party and Trump for "sitting on the sidelines" during the shutdown and negotiations.

"The reason the Republican majority had such difficulty finding consensus is they could never get a firm grip on what the president of their party wanted to do," he said. "These days, you never know who to deal with when it comes to the Republicans."

"My recent offer to the president was a generous one, I put his signature campaign issue on the table in exchange for DACA, but still, he turned away...the great dealmaking president sat on the sidelines."

McConnell said Democrats caved after realizing the shutdown wasn't politically wise.

"I think if we've learned anything during this process it's that a strategy to shut down the government over the issue of illegal immigration is something that the American people didn't understand," McConnell said.

Lawmakers in the Senate have been working since Friday, when government funding ran out, to produce a resolution dedicating more money to keeping federal offices and services open and running. Negotiations on Saturday and Sunday failed before a Monday vote was set to try again.

Democrats have been pushing for a fix for DACA, which protects roughly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, ever since Trump announced he would end the program without an adjustment to make it work in step with his tougher policy on illegal immigration.

Democrats stalled on a longer-term spending bill until a bipartisan agreement was reached for DACA recipients. Trump, who previously rejected a bipartisan immigration deal, made volatile comments this month about immigrants traveling to the United States from "shithole countries" -- remarks that some say threw a wrench into negotiations on the issue.

A bipartisan group has been working on a spending bill and immigration.

"Today is the day to celebrate because we have shown that a determined group of senators working together across the aisle can result in positive action," said Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine.

"Today we've taken a significant step forward with more than 80 senators voting to reopen government and with a commitment from the Republican leader to bring an immigration bill to the floor with ample opportunity for those with differing views to offer up substitutes to a bill."

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., was part of the bipartisan talks these past few days.

"I have increasing trust in the folks I've been working with in recent days and I trust that leader McConnell will keep his word," Coons said, referring to assurances from McConnell regarding immigration talks.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are opposed to the deal, CNN reported.


Staff member
Nov 17, 2017
24,463 1,293 0
Senate reaches deal to end government shutdown
By: Leo Shane III and Joe Gould  
22 Jan 2018 - 5 hours ago

WASHINGTON — Senate leaders reached agreement Monday to end the government shutdown and pass a three-week budget extension they hope will give lawmakers time to sort lingering disagreements over immigration and federal fiscal policies.

The deal, advanced by the Senate Monday afternoon, must still be approved by the House and president. But both are expected to sign on as soon as tonight in order to restart government operations. It includes a provision to provide back pay for troops and other federal workers for the time they missed because of the lapse in operations.

Non-essential programs began shutting down Saturday morning after the Senate failed to approve a four-week budget extension over Democratic concerns that broader issues were being ignored.

The three-day shutdown caused brief furloughs for hundreds of thousands of defense civilian employees, including workers at the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.

Armed Forces Network television programming was briefly halted for overseas military bases as workers were sent home. Daycare centers on bases were shuttered, and many non-serious military medical appointments were cancelled. Some VA call centers were closed, and veterans were warned of possible office closings in the days to come.

Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s readiness panel, said Monday that 2,000 South Carolina Guardsmen who were preparing to drill this weekend were sent home instead, and 750 Guard mechanics were laid off.

Senators spent the weekend negotiating on a new budget deal but also sniping at each other for betraying the troops by refusing to agree to a compromise.

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, an Iraq War veteran, accused Democrats of “turning their back on men and women in uniform by putting our military’s resources and readiness in jeopardy.” Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill. Who also served in Iraq, called the short-term budget backed by Republicans “harmful to not just the military but to our national security.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the new budget deal comes with a promise from Republican leadership that negotiations on the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival policy will continue over the next few weeks, with a possible vote in early February.

He praised lawmakers’ for the compromise but attacked President Donald Trump for his “glaring absence” during the negotiations. Both Trump and Republican leaders on the Hill said they would not discuss immigration issues while the government was shut down.

“The Senate cannot make progress on any of these crucial matters until the government is reopened,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said ahead of Monday’s vote.

“It’s evident that this government shutdown is doing nothing, absolutely nothing to generate bipartisan progress on the issues the American people care about,” McConnell said. “Every day we spend arguing about keeping the lights on is another day we cannot spend negotiating DACA or defense spending or any of our other shared priorities.”

Pentagon leaders and pro-defense lawmakers have lamented the short-term budget extensions as bad for military planning and morale, and repeatedly pushed for a full-year plan. But Republicans have thus far insisted on hefty increases for defense spending alone in any such deal, and Democrats have demanded equal increases for other non-military programs.

A contingent of pro-defense lawmakers is expected to vote against the latest budget extension, since a broader deal to ease statutory budget caps for military spending has still not been reached.

“I think the government should be reopened, but if this doesn’t address the underlying issue — spending caps — for this two-year period of time, what does Feb. 9 hold that [the last funding deadline] didn’t hold?” said Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., chairman of the House Armed Services seapower panel, ahead of the vote.

Still, that opposition is not expected to be enough to derail a deal and keep government operations shut down.

The three-week appropriations deal expires on Feb. 8, giving lawmakers just a few more days to try to reach agreement on an elusive full-year budget plan. Since Oct. 1, the start of the current fiscal year, all government functions have been operating off of last year’s funding levels.


Staff member
Nov 17, 2017
24,463 1,293 0
Schumer pulls offer to help fund border wall; Trump hits back
By Sara Shayanian
Jan. 24, 2018


Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., led a government shutdown in order to create a deal to save immigrants protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. File Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI
| License Photo

Jan. 24 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer are feuding again after the New York lawmaker pulled a compromise deal for the president's long-promised border wall.

Schumer, who led a government shutdown in order to create a deal to save immigrants protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, eventually agreed to reopen the government on the condition that the chamber would vote on immigration in the coming weeks.

Lawmakers have been involved in negotiations to reach a compromise on funding the wall along the Mexico border in exchange for extended protections against deportations for immigrants covered under DACA, known as "Dreamers." Trump said last year he would end the DACA program unless it was reformed by Congress.

Schumer told the White House Tuesday, though, that he was withdrawing a Democratic offer to support building the U.S.-Mexico border wall with $1.6 billion in construction funding.

"The thought was that we could come to an agreement that afternoon, the president would announce his support, and the Senate and the House would get it done and it would be on the president's desk," Schumer said Tuesday.

"He didn't do that. So we're going to have to start on a new basis and so the wall offer is off the table."

Schumer first made the offer on Friday during a meeting with Trump at the White House while negotiations were occurring to avoid a government shutdown.

"It was the first thing the president and I talked about," Schumer said.

Congress ultimately passed a short-term funding resolution.

On Tuesday night, Trump taunted Schumer for his withdrawal.

"Cryin' Chuck Schumer fully understands, especially after his humiliating defeat, that if there is no Wall, there is no DACA. We must have safety and security, together with a strong Military, for our great people!" Trump tweeted.

Schumer and Trump have clashed before. In November, he and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi scrapped a meeting at the White House with the president because of a tweet Trump had posted.

"Meeting with 'Chuck and Nancy' today about keeping government open and working," the tweet read. "Problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our Country unchecked, are weak on Crime and want to substantially RAISE Taxes. I don't see a deal!"

Most Democrats and some Republicans oppose the border wall.

Last week, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly told lawmakers, "candidates say things during the campaign that are not informed" when discussing the border wall.

In an apparent response to Kelly, Trump tweeted that the plans for the wall hadn't changed since his 2016 presidential campaign and that Mexico would still pay for the border wall "directly or indirectly, or through longer term reimbursement."

"The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it. Parts will be, of necessity, see through and it was never intended to be built in areas where there is natural protection such as mountains, wastelands or tough rivers or water," Trump wrote.