Senate Votes to Open the Government—for Three More Weeks

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After a brief three-day shutdown, the United States Senate voted on Monday to advance a continuing resolution (CR) funding the government through February 8th. The House of Representatives is expected to pass the three-week CR later today.

The 81-to-18 vote comes after the Senate failed to reach a deal on government funding on Friday night in the face of opposition from many Democrats (as well as several Republicans) to any spending deal that did not include a fix for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Moderate senators from both parties negotiated furiously over the weekend to reach a deal, which has taken the form of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell committing to bring a DACA bill to the floor through regular order, even without the president's support, if no other deal on immigration is reached by the February 8th deadline.

The continuing resolution also funds the Children's Health Insurance Program for the next six years, news which will come as a relief to the nine million children who rely on the program, and the 1.7 million children who were estimated to be at risk of losing their CHIP coverage in February. Likewise, the deal temporarily averts the various negative economic effects—lost gross domestic product, backpay for federal employees, lost tourism revenues due to the closure of national monuments and public parks—of a government shutdown. This CR, however, does not address other areas of concern for Democrats—community health center funding or disaster aid for Puerto Rico, for example.

Sixteen Democrats voted against the bill, citing the lack of a guaranteed DACA solution at present. While a number of moderate senators are hopeful that the chamber can reach a bipartisan deal on immigration that garners 60 votes, it's unclear whether the House will pass (or even agree to vote on), and the president will sign, such an agreement.