A USA government shutdown will enter its third day on Monday as Senate negotiators failed to reach agreement late on Sunday to restore federal spending authority and deal with demands from Democrats that young "Dreamers" be protected from deportation.
The problem this time focused on immigration policy, principally President Donald Trump's order previous year ending an Obama program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which gave legal protections to "Dreamer" immigrants.
After calling off a vote in the wee hours of Monday, Senate leaders worked out a bipartisan deal to crank up the government again, putting all employees back to work after the forced hiatus began over the weekend.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats agreed to back the bill reopening government after he and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to begin debating an immigration bill by February 8.
Earlier in the day Trump encouraged the Senate's Republican leaders to invoke the "nuclear option" - a procedural maneuver to change the chamber's rules to allow passage of a budget by a simple majority of 51 votes to end the shutdown.
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The president had been scheduled to travel to Palm Beach in Florida to celebrate the first anniversary of his presidency on Saturday (20 January), but the glass-clinking plans were cancelled as the government shutdown loomed.
"Unfortunately, we can not answer your call today because Congressional Democrats are holding government funding - including funding for our troops and other national security priorities - hostage to an unrelated immigration debate", the recording says.
The short-term spending measure is a week shorter than one that passed the House last week. "Once we start talking about immigration and voting on immigration, we'll find 60 votes to make sure these DACA recipients' lives are not ruined by March 5".
"Conservatives enthusiastically promoted the notion that Democrats were taking the government to the cusp of a shutdown to benefit undocumented immigrants", The Washington Post reports.
It essentially takes away power from the minority party, and no one - Democrat or Republican - wants to be responsible for that (especially since the power in the Senate can flip with every election, including the upcoming midterms). John Cornyn of Texas said, "Right now, yes, I do".
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Under Senate rules, most legislation requires 60 votes to take up a bill, in what's known as a "cloture" vote.
If members are still unclear what Trump and White House officials want when it comes to DACA and a broader immigration overhaul bill, "then I think sometimes they're not paying attention", Sanders said.
Republicans just blew up Democratic hopes for using DACA for leverage in shutdown talks.
"The American people are not going to accept the premise that immigrants are criminals and that we ought to deport the Dreamers". Both House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and White House Legislative Director Marc Short confirmed that there would be no DACA negotiations while the government remained without funding.
"It is really unbelievable and so sad for our country that we have a President of the United States that says such nonsense and such outrageous statements", the Vermont Independent, who caucuses with Democrats, said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday morning. After Senate Democrats blocked a temporary governmentwide funding bill Friday night, both parties have engaged in furious finger-pointing. Republican Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Rand Paul (R-KY) also voted against it. Some Democrats are reportedly concerned that an immigration bill addressing DACA could be quashed in the House, before even reaching the Senate.
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