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Senate Reaches Deal to End Shutdown

January 23, 2018
 
 

The Senate on Monday passed a stopgap funding measure to end a government shutdown that began when members failed to reach a deal on a new spending agreement Friday.

The bill, passed on a 81 to 18 vote, includes a reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program but came with only a promise to Democrats from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that he would allow a vote on a fix to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

In September, President Donald Trump said his administration would wind down the program, which allowed 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to work in the country legally and get temporary protection against deportation. Trump said Congress should act to pass legislation extending the program. But despite heavy pressure from immigration groups and progressive organizations, as well as from college leaders and DACA recipients themselves, Congress has yet to act.

Progressive activists -- and several prominent Senate Democrats -- said no funding deal should be agreed to without a DACA solution.

The new funding measure, which the House also passed later Monday night, funds the government through Feb. 8, potentially setting up another showdown over the program.

Pushing for a long-term solution on DACA has been a major focus of college presidents and the higher ed lobby in Washington since last fall. Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education, said in a statement that he was pleased to see Congress poised to reopen the federal government, and he praised the commitment to bring a DACA vote to the floor.

"College and university presidents are extremely concerned about the future of Dreamers, the group of bright and high-achieving young people brought to this country as children," he said. "We reiterate that it is unacceptable for Dreamers to be held hostage to a political face-off and left in limbo as they try to make decisions beyond the next few weeks about their education, jobs, or service in the military. We stand ready to work with all parties to reach a swift and fair resolution to this pressing matter."

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