- By Jessica Wehrman Washington Bureau
The Senate has set for a noon vote today on a bill that would pay for the government to stay open through Feb. 8 — 10 days shorter than the original Feb. 18 end date that the House had passed.
The idea, suggested Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was that the Senate would immediately after that move to resolve a debate over how to treat immigrants brought to the country illegally as children and how to address the border wall proposed by President Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign.
Among those who expressed tentative support for such a plan was Sen. Rob Portman, R–Ohio, who said the shutdown has effectively also stopped the ongoing debate over immigration issues.
“I think it just makes no sense to have a shutdown,” he said. “If anything, it’s hurt the process of doing the hard work. This is all politics and it makes no sense.”
He said he was hopeful five or so Democrats would opt for the shorter term spending measure.
“I think DACA should be addressed,” he said, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, which allowed people brought to the United States illegally as children to stay. “I just don’t think it’s worth shutting down the government to make a point.”
He dismissed the notion that President Trump was to blame or had made negotiations more difficult. “It’s not up to him,” he said. “It’s up to us. It’s our shutdown..I don’t see why we should be relying on the White House to get this done. I think we should do this on our own.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown, meanwhile, introduced a motion to keep the government open through Wednesday, Jan. 24, arguing it would allow Republicans and Democrats to strike a deal. Republicans rejected the motion.
“I don’t want people to go to work tomorrow morning, whether it’s inside the fence, civilian or military, or whether it’s outside the gate,” the Ohio Democrat said. “I don’t want them to go to work and find out the government is closed.”