WASHINGTON — On day three of the government shutdown, Republican leadership in the Senate managed to garner enough Democratic votes to break a filibuster and pass a short-term spending bill to fund the government through Feb. 8.
The spending bill passed 81-18 Monday afternoon, sending it to the House.
Earlier Monday, the vote to end the filibuster also finished 81-18, with two Republicans — Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah — opting to join the 16 Democrats in voting against the measure.
In exchange for the three-day shutdown, Democrats got little more than assurances that the Senate would debate a bill to provide legal status to DACA recipients.
Democrats blocked the passage of a House-passed stopgap measure that would have funded the government for four weeks while extending six years of funding to the Children’s Health Insurance Program and delaying a number of Obamacare taxes late Friday evening, citing the lack of an immigration deal that provided protections for DREAMers, foreign nationals who illegally entered the country as minors.
WATCH: Dems Try To Avoid Blame For Shutdown:
After negotiations stalled between Senate leadership over the weekend, McConnell committed to taking up an immigration bill with an open amendment process in an attempt to sway members across the aisle to reopen the government.
“The bill before us does three things that every Democrat and Republican should be able to support. First, it ends the shutdown and restores full funding for the federal government through Feb. 8. Second, it extends health insurance for nine million vulnerable children,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “And third, it will enable Congress to resume serious bipartisan talks on the important issues facing our nation. I respect the passion that many of my friends in this chamber, Democrat and Republican alike, bring to the major issue before the Senate, all of these issues.”
A group of more than 20 bipartisan played a pivotal role in overcoming the impasse, gathering in Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine’s office over the weekend in an attempt to hash out a deal to present to leadership.
“Susan’s office in Switzerland,” GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham joked Monday, adding he hopes the camaraderie continues as they continue to negotiate a budget agreement and a DACA deal.
While Congress technically has until March 5 to pass a DACA fix, lawmakers are looking to pass a measure before Feb. 8 to avoid another shutdown threat.
I know that there’ll be earnest negotiations now more than they would have otherwise been, because I think without this agreement we would have just bumped into March 5th and that would not have been good,” GOP Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake told reporters, adding there are a number of groups in discussions with the White House on potential immigration plans.
While Flake is optimistic the Senate won’t be in a similar position come February, not all are convinced it will be easy to strike a deal on an omnibus and immigration in less than three weeks.
“This is a baby step a long journey. Can a deal be put together Feb. 8? I don’t know — we haven’t been able to do it for four months,” GOP Sen. John Kennedy of Lousiana told The Daily Caller. “I’m ready to — assuming the Democrats won’t shut the government down again — I’m ready to just put a measure on the floor like Sen. McConnell wants to do and just start offering amendments.
“I think what Sen. Schumer wanted was a guarantee that we would vote only on a bill dealing with amnesty for DACA immigrants and then he wanted to guarantee that the House would pass it guarantee the president would sign it — it doesn’t work that way. I think it’s good that people talk, but there are a hundred senators and everybody’s going to have their say. And just because a certain group sometimes something doesn’t mean it’s going to become law.”