SHUTDOWN UPDATE | Congress votes to reopen government; Trump's quick signature expected


6:25 p.m.

Congress votes to reopen government as House follows Senate in approving bill; Trump's quick signature expected

5:19 p.m.

BC-US--Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — As the shutdown of the federal government lumbered toward an end on today, President Donald Trump remained out of sight, suppressing his instincts to make himself part of the story by making a deal or picking a fight.

Trump told allies over the weekend he hated being on the sidelines, but he followed the recommendations of his staff and key congressional Republicans and removed himself from the negotiations. The president limited his public pronouncements to a few Twitter bursts that bashed Democrats.

He did not reach out to Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer or any other Democrat, instead calling fellow Republicans and Cabinet members to check on the response to the shutdown.

The White House defended Trump's hands-off approach to the negotiations, one out of character for a president who made his reputation as the master of "The Art of the Deal," as he titled one of his books.

"Look, what the president did clearly worked," said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. She told reporters that Trump's focus was on minimizing the impact of the shutdown on Americans.

"That's been a big priority for the president," she said. "I think that it certainly went much smoother than it has in the past, but also the president was putting pressure and standing firm on exactly what he was willing to do and what he wasn't."

Trump's shifting positions, particularly on protections for young immigrants, twice scuttled deals that could have avoided the shutdown, frustrating Republicans and Democrats alike. Schumer, who believed he was close to a deal on Friday after meeting the president at the White House over cheeseburgers, blasted Trump's refusal to re-engage.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the budget battle (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

Congress sped toward reopening the government Monday, as Senate Democrats dropped their objections to a temporary funding bill in return for assurances from Republicans leaders that they will soon take up immigration and other contentious issues.

Senate Republican leader McConnell’s commitment to quickly tackle the issue of immigrant “Dreamers” was contingent on Democrats providing enough votes now for a stopgap spending measure lasting a little less than three weeks. The measure needed 60 votes, and Democrats provided 33 of the 81 it got. Eighteen senators, including members of both parties, were opposed.

Before the government can reopen the Senate must vote on final passage, the House must approve in turn, and President Donald Trump must sign the measure.

Democrats climbed onboard after two days of negotiations that ended with new reassurances from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that the Senate would consider immigration proposals in the coming weeks.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer lent his backing to the agreement during a speech on the chamber’s floor. “Now there is a real pathway to get a bill on the floor and through the Senate,” he said of legislation to halt any deportation efforts aimed at “Dreamers,” who were brought to the country as children and are now here illegally.

12:55 p.m.

It looks like the government shutdown will end soon.

The Senate has advanced a bill reopening federal agencies through Feb. 8 after Democrats relented and lifted their blockade against the legislation.

The shutdown began Saturday after Democrats derailed a Republican measure that would have kept government open until Feb. 16. Democrats wanted to pressure the GOP to cut a deal protecting young immigrants from deportation and boosting federal spending.

Moderates from both parties pressured leaders to end the shutdown and compromise.

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 Feb. 8.

The Senate vote was 81-18 — well above the 60 votes needed. The Senate still must vote on final passage to send the bill to the House.

12;45 P.M.

Democrats lined up behind a plan to reopen the federal government Monday as the Senate began a key vote.

Senators predicted a proposal to fund the government until Feb. 8 would move forward, overcoming a Democratic filibuster and clearing the way for an end to the three-day shutdown.

Democrats climbed on board after two days of negotiations that ended with new reassurances from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that the Senate would consider immigration proposals in the coming weeks.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer lent his backing to the agreement during a speech on the chamber’s floor. “Now there is a real pathway to get a bill on the floor and through the Senate,” he said of legislation to halt any deportation efforts aimed at “Dreamers,” who were brought to the country as children and are now here illegally.

12:14 p.m.

Democrats aligning behind plan to temporarily fund the government and end shutdown, predict it will pass in the Senate.

10:35 a.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he hopes and intends to resolve immigration and a host of other issues by early February in an effort to come to bipartisan agreement to reopen the federal government.

Senate Democrats blocked a House-passed temporary funding bill to reopen the government through Feb. 16. A pending Senate measure would last through Feb. 8.

Opening the Senate Monday, McConnell said that if they could not find bipartisan solutions on immigration, military spending, disaster aid and other issues by the Feb. 8 deadline then he would hold a vote on those matters. Top Democrat Chuck Schumer did not appear on the floor to respond.

Several members of both parties met Monday morning to try and resolve the shutdown mess.

——

10:25 a.m.

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney is defending President Donald Trump’s lack of outreach to Democratic lawmakers during the government shutdown.

Mulvaney discussed the shutdown on MSNBC Monday morning.

Trump did not speak with any Democratic senators over the weekend. Asked why, Mulvaney said Trump spoke with Democrats before the shutdown and will speak to them when it is over.

But he says: “we are not going to negotiate immigration in the middle of the shutdown.”

——

9:05 a.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says if the Senate approves a temporary spending bill to reopen the government through Feb. 8, the House will approve it, too.

Senate Democrats had blocked a stopgap measure passed by the House to keep the federal bureaucracy operating through Feb. 16. But speaking on “Fox and Friends,” Ryan says the new date works for the House.

The Wisconsin Republican also says negotiations on an immigration deal are taking place in good faith. Democrats want to protect young immigrants in the country illegally and are skeptical of Republican pledges to bring up free-standing immigration legislation next month.

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut says on MSNBC he has “zero confidence” that Ryan will bring legislation to shield the roughly 700,000 immigrants known as “Dreamers.”

———

8:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump is accusing Democrats of prioritizing services and security for noncitizens over U.S. citizens.

He says in a tweet Monday: “Not good!”

Some government functions shut down over the weekend. Democrats are rejecting a funding bill until Republicans agree to protect 700,000 immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

The Republican president says in a second tweet Monday that “Democrats have shut down our government in the interests of their far left base. They don’t want to do it but are powerless!”

Trump’s earlier tweet appeared to undercut comments by his legislative affairs director, Marc Short, who told CNN that the immigrants in question are law-abiding and “productive to our society.”

Short says the administration wants to “find a pathway for them” to stay in the U.S.

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6:40 a.m. MONDAY

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government shutdown is set to sow more disruption and political peril today after the Senate inched closer but ultimately fell short of an agreement that would have reopened federal agencies before the beginning of the workweek.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said negotiations lasted late into the night, with a vote to break a Democratic filibuster on a short-term funding bill scheduled for noon today. Under the proposal taking shape, Democrats would agree to a three-week spending measure — until Feb. 8 — in return for a commitment from the Republican leadership in the Senate to address immigration policy and other pressing legislative matters in the coming weeks.

But Democrats appeared to be holding out for a firmer commitment from McConnell. “We have yet to reach an agreement on a path forward,” Schumer said late Sunday.

McConnell’s comments followed hours of behind-the-scenes talks between the leaders and rank-and-file lawmakers over how to end the display of legislative dysfunction, which began at midnight Friday after Democrats blocked a temporary spending measure. Democrats have sought to use the spending bill to win concessions, including protections for roughly 700,000 younger immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children.

Republicans have appeared increasingly confident that Democrats were bearing the brunt of criticism for the shutdown and that they would ultimately buckle. The White House and GOP leaders said they would not negotiate with Democrats on immigration until the government is reopened.

President Donald Trump on Monday accused Democrats of prioritizing services and security for noncitizens over U.S. citizens. “Not good,” his first tweet said. In a second tweet, he said, “Democrats have shut down our government in the interests of their far left base. They don’t want to do it but are powerless!”

Trump’s first tweet appeared to undercut comments by his legislative affairs director, Marc Short, who told CNN that the immigrants in question are law-abiding and “productive to our society.” Short says the administration wants to “find a pathway for them” to stay in the U.S.

There were indications Sunday that Democratic resolve was beginning to waver, with growing worries that a prolonged shutdown could prove to be an electoral headache for the party just as it has grown more confident about prospects in November midterm elections.

Although they initially dug in on a demand for an immigration deal, Democrats had shifted to blaming the shutdown on the incompetence of Republicans and Trump, seeming sensitive to being seen by voters as willing to tie up government operations to protect immigrants.

Trump, who regularly disrupted negotiations in recent weeks, had been a relatively subdued player in the weekend debate. He has not appeared in public since Friday afternoon. The White House said he was in regular contact with Republican leaders, but he has not reached out to any Democrats, a White House official said.

Democrats are facing intense pressure from their base to solve the issue over the young immigrants, commonly referred to as “Dreamers,” and they are skeptical of Republicans’ credibility when offering to take up the issue. Whether Trump would back the emerging plan or any later proposal on immigration is an open question.

While lawmakers feuded, signs of the shutdown were evident at national parks and in some federal agencies. Social Security and most other safety-net programs were unaffected by the lapse in federal spending authority. Critical government functions continued, with uniformed service members, health inspectors and law enforcement officers set to work without pay.

Lawmakers were mindful that the political stakes would soar Monday morning, when thousands of federal workers would be told to stay home or, in many cases, work without pay. What was still a weekend burst of Washington dysfunction could spiral into a broader crisis with political consequences in November.

That threat prompted a bipartisan group of Senate moderates to huddle for a second day Sunday in hopes of crafting a plan to reopen the government. The group was set to meet again Monday morning.

The emerging approach found advocates in South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has been trying to broker an immigration deal, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Republicans who rejected an earlier short-term proposal. GOP Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, another previous no-vote, announced he would vote in favor of reopening the government Monday.

Graham said no deal had been reached by the moderate group because Democrats were not yet on board. “To my Democratic friends, don’t overplay your hand,” he told reporters. “A government shutdown is not a good way to get an outcome legislatively.”

The vote Monday will prove to be a test of unity and resolve among Democrats. Five Democrats from states won by Trump broke ranks in a vote Friday. The measure gained 50 votes to proceed to 49 against, but 60 were needed to break a Democratic filibuster.

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Associated Press writers Kevin Freking and Catherine Lucey contributed to this report.

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