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Immigration Decision Still Up in the Air As Government Reopens

It was announced on the Senate floor today that the government shutdown that began almost three full days ago would come to a close this evening as Republicans and Democrats came to a compromise in a short-term spending plan that would prop up the government until February 8.

Still on the negotiating table is how a long-term spending plan will deal with “Dreamers,” the young undocumented immigrants at risk for deportation. Some Democrats had forced the government shutdown when their demands for the Dreamers to be protected were not met. The short-term agreement does not address those protections, and it does not guarantee a vote on those protections will take place.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke on the Senate floor this morning: “So long as the government remains open, it would be my intention to take up legislation here in the Senate that would address DACA, border security and related issues. This immigration debate will have a level playing field at the outset and an amendment process that is fair to all sides.” (h/t The Washington Post)

While there is no firm language on immigration in the short-term bill, it apparently was a key hinge in the decision to end the shutdown. There was lots of calling from Democrats for Republicans in Congress to be more explicit in their commitments to resolve the DACA issue.

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A group of liberal senators voiced doubts that McConnell and his fellow conservatives would take action. “I expect the majority leader to fulfill his commitment to the Senate, to me and to the bipartisan group, and abide by this agreement. If he does not … he will have breached the trust of not only the Democratic senators, but members of his own party as well,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer.

The Senate still has to pass the spending bill before moving it to the House.

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