Democrats to vote to reopen US government
US Democrats agreed Monday to support a temporary funding bill to end a partial shutdown of the federal government, now in its third day, as a key vote began in the Senate.
The Senate's top Democrat Chuck Schumer told the chamber he had reached a deal with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell -- in exchange for a pledge to address Democrat concerns over hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the country as children.
Democrats had refused to vote for the temporary budget extension unless they secured guarantees on the future of the so-called "Dreamers," who will be vulnerable to deportation when the DACA program protecting them expires in March.
"After several discussions, offers, counteroffers, the Republican leader and I have come to an arrangement," Schumer said, moments before the key vote got underway.
"We will vote today to reopen the government to continue negotiating a global agreement with the commitment that if an agreement isn't reached by February the 8th, the Senate will immediately proceed to consideration of legislation dealing with DACA," he said.
The bill to keep government funded through February 8 requires 60 votes to advance in the 100-member Senate, meaning Republicans -- who have a one-seat majority -- need to lure several Democrats to their side.
If the bill clears the Senate, it will still have to go back to the House of Representatives, since the text has been modified since the lower chamber adopted it last Friday.
Hundreds of thousands of US federal employees were forced to stay home without pay Monday after lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on ending a government shutdown before the start of the work week.
© 2018 AFP