Washington, Jan 22 (EFE).- The Senate voted Monday to move a budget bill forward that would fully reopen the federal government in the coming hours after Democratic and Republican lawmakers failed to reach agreement last week on a compromise bill, causing the government to partially shut down last Friday at midnight.
Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said Monday that his party would drop its opposition to a bill funding government operations through Feb. 8, adding that his party’s lawmakers agreed to end the government shutdown in exchange for a pledge by the Republican majority to allow a vote on a bill to protect young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised to permit an immigration bill to be put to a vote next month.
In an 81-18 vote, with 60 being needed to send the bill forward in the upper house, the bill’s text must now be brought to a final vote before it can be sent to the House of Representatives, where expectations are that it will be quickly approved.
“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,” said Schumer, adding that McConnell had promised that, if negotiators do not reach an immigration accord before the temporary budget measure expires on Feb. 8, the Senate will immediately move to consider a separate bill to protect the Dreamers.
Last Friday, Democratic lawmakers prevented passage of the budget bill to fund the government, linking their support for it to President Donald Trump and Republicans agreeing to regularize the immigration status of the some 800,000 Dreamers living in the US.
Former President Barack Obama implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to shield young undocumented migrants from deportation and to allow them to work and attend school, but Trump cancelled the program last year, giving Congress until March 5 to work out an alternative solution to deportation.
Republicans, meanwhile, are demanding that Democrats include funding for building Trump’s US-Mexico border wall in the government budget.