The Senate broke its budget impasse Monday as Democrats joined Republicans in voting to end debate on a short-term spending bill that would reopen the government and provide funding through Feb. 8.
The upper chamber was expected to quickly approve the bill, and House members were told to await a possible vote Monday afternoon, raising the possibility that the shutdown would end after just three days.
“We will vote today to reopen the government,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a speech on the Senate floor. The vote was 81-18 to move ahead on the spending bill.
Democrats and some Republicans had been seeking ironclad assurances from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) of a vote on immigration policy in the coming weeks in exchange for ending the shutdown.
McConnell said Sunday that he will open debate on immigration if Democrats help Republicans pass the Feb. 8 measure. On Monday morning, Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said they wanted a firmer, more detailed commitment on behalf of a bipartisan group of senators.
“It would be helpful if the language were a little bit stronger because the level of tension is so high,” Collins told reporters outside her office. She said McConnell deserves credit for his offer.
Graham said he and Flake plan to vote for the Feb. 8 spending bill, adding that McConnell’s language “can be firmer — will be.”
Other members of the group expressed hope that momentum for a deal was building. Some had called for the noon vote to be delayed to allow time for further negotiations.
“I think a lot is going to happen in the next two hours — a lot of changes,” said Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.).
SOURCE: Robert Costa, Erica Werner, Ed O’Keefe and Elise Viebeck
The Washington Post