Senate passes first vote to reopen government; Democrats only got a date change
The U.S. Senate pulled together the 60-plus votes needed to allow a 3-week funding measure to reach the floor on Monday – the first step to ending the Democrat-led shutdown of the U.S. government.
The cloture vote, which ends debate and allows a bill to progress to a floor vote, passed by an 81-18 margin. Now the measure goes to the floor where a simple majority can pass it. Once passed, the House will take up the Senate version immediately and is expected to pass it as well. The White House has no objections to the bill and the President could sign the measure within hours.
The question remaining is what changed Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s mind?
Democrats held up federal funding unless amnesty for illegal aliens was put into the measure. That didn’t happen. In fact, the only change to the continuing resolution that Democrats voted against Friday was its expiration date. Instead of ending on Feb. 16, the CR that moved to the floor and is likely to pass ends on Feb. 8.
Schumer spent several minutes before the claiming victory because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to hold debate and votes on amendments about illegal immigrants. But the Senate had already been engaged in bipartisan negotiations about immigration and border security – so what changed?
Schumer needed a way out of the political fiasco his ill-conceived government shutdown created and this was it. Public sentiment was turning against Democrats and Schumer was looking at a building mutiny within his own party. He had no choice but to give in.
Democrats are angling for a bill to grant amnesty to illegal aliens with no other stipulations. That would be suicide for Republicans facing a tough midterm election this year. That won’t happen.
Republicans want the legal protections limited to those illegal immigrants who were previously in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The protections would not extend to other family members. That would be suicide for Democrats. That won’t happen.
Republicans will still require that any legal protection for Dreamers include an end to chain migration and the visa lottery. The president will require that funding for border security, including the wall, be in the legislation. All the same sticking points still exist and the same process the Senate was already engaged in will be used to craft legislation that will likely fail. Nothing has changed.
Because of the shorter expiration, the Senate now has only 17 days to craft an immigration reform bill that tackles illegal aliens, border security, chain migration and the visa lottery. A vote will supposedly be forced by Feb. 8 instead of Feb. 16. That means that illegal immigrants will be disappointed 8 days sooner.
Chuck Schumer has accepted a spending measure identical to the one he rebuffed Friday, except for its end date.
Nothing has changed.