Senate Democrats say they are accepting a deal with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for an immigration vote, clearing the way for passage of a bill to reopen the federal government.
McConnell early Monday promised to take up an immigration bill that would protect an estimated 800,000 Dreamers from deportation, under an open amendment process, if Democrats would agree to end the government shutdown.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y) said that pledge was enough for his caucus to accept a three-week government funding bill, which is now set to pass at noon.
“After several discussions, offers and counteroffers, the Republican leader and I have come to an arrangement. We will vote today to reopen the government to continue negotiating a global agreement,” Schumer said.
If lawmakers aren’t able to get an immigration bill as part of that larger agreement by Feb. 8, the Senate would then take up a separate bill and “the process will be neutral and fair to all sides,” Schumer added.
The agreement likely ends a three-day government shutdown that began at midnight Saturday after Democrats voted to block a month-long House-passed stopgap that extended funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program but did nothing to protect illegal immigrants who came to the country at a young age facing deportation.
Democrats held a 90-minute meeting before the vote on whether to accept McConnell’s offer.
Many of them worried that it fell short of their demands to reach a deal to replace the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program with President Trump or at least a promise from Republicans to pass immigration legislation to a must-pass bill.
Schumer said he has not spoken to Trump since a meeting at the White House Friday.