U.S. shutdown extended as key vote delayed

Lester Mason
January 23, 2018

President Donald Trump started fresh immigration talks with senators on Monday as bipartisan lawmakers struck a deal to end the USA government shutdown that hinged largely on their ability to reach an immigration compromise.

McConnell said he would pursue legislation to address the legal status of roughly 700,000 immigrants protected by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which will expire in March, as well as border security and other issues. Should that fail, and the government remains open, McConnell is saying he would plan to move onto immigration consideration on the Senate floor.

Several Senate Democrats who supported the agreement are facing competitive reelection battles in 2018 in states that President Donald Trump carried in 2016.

Liberal groups were quick to express skepticism, with many pointing out that it is impossible to provide any assurances that Senate or House Republicans will support future legislation.

"This was exclusively done by the Senate Democrats".

Graham - once a strident opponent of Trump's who has developed a cozy relationship with the president over the past few months - said over the weekend that he is skeptical of numerous president's advisers, especially White House senior policy aide Stephen Miller, who push Trump in a conservative direction on immigration as soon as he seems to want a compromise. "I do expect the White House to remain engaged", Cornyn said afterward.

Democrats say the decision to bow out now lets them fight another day and hopefully get things right this time.

But federal government functions that actually relate to the health and welfare of the American people will be shut down as inessential.

The vote will signal whether Democrats have the stomach to continue a fight that is pitting the future of about 700,000 Dreamers against the relatively smooth running of the federal government and ongoing strength of the USA economy.

Today, Schumer had one negotiating partner, McConnell, and he took the available offer: six years' worth of funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program and the promise of a Senate vote for the Dreamers, in exchange for an agreement to fund the government for three more weeks.

Guests at his Mar-a-Lago resort had reportedly paid $100,000 (£72,000, €82,000) to attend a glitzy event which was originally billed to star Trump as he marked his first year inside the White House. "Unfortunately, we can not answer your call today because congressional Democrats are holding government funding, including funding for our troops and other national security priorities, hostage to an unrelated immigration debate", the White House's outgoing voice message said over the weekend. The vote is happening now, but more than enough senators have voted to advance the bill ending the shutdown.

"Not good", his first tweet said.

Trump early Monday accused Democrats of shutting down the government to appeal to "their far left base".

In fact, Trump, who regularly disrupted negotiations in recent weeks, had been a relatively subdued player in the weekend debate. "They don't want to do it but are powerless!"

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, a GOP immigration hardliner, said on NBC Sunday that Democrats were making it hard for compromises to get made because they were telling the media what happened in private meetings.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), one of the leading Senate Democrats, called illegal immigration the "civil rights issue of our time".

While lawmakers feuded, signs of the shutdown were evident at national parks and in some federal agencies. On Saturday, White House aides said they would not negotiate on immigration until the government re-opened.

In terms of the actual impact of the government shutdown, the military and other uniformed federal services, including the Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and TSA baggage and passenger screeners at airports will report for duty, although paychecks will be held back until Congress approves retroactive payment, as it has in every previous federal shutdown.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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