U.S. Senate to vote Monday on bill to end gov't shutdown

Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-22 14:24:27|Editor: Yamei
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The U.S. Capitol is seen in Washington D.C., the United States, on Dec. 19, 2017. (Xinhua file photo/Yin Bogu)

WASHINGTON, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. Senate will vote on a bill to end the federal government shutdown on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday night.

McConnell said the Senate will vote on a bill to reopen the government through Feb. 8 at noon Monday, canceling a planned vote at 1 a.m. EST (0600 GMT) Monday.

If the government is open, "it would be my intention to proceed to legislation that would address DACA, border security, and related issues," McConnell said on the Senate floor, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that prevents the deportation of young immigrants, a key demand of Democrats.

"Importantly, when I proceed to the immigration debate, it will have an amendment process that is fair to all sides," he said.

But Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor that "we have yet to reach an agreement" on reopening the government and immigration. It remains unclear whether the three-week stopgap spending bill has enough votes to pass the Senate.

The effects of government shutdown will be more visible on Monday, when federal agencies and financial markets open, and thousands of non-essential federal employees are expected to be furloughed.

The last government shutdown, in October 2013, lasted for 16 days and about 850,000 federal employees were furloughed.

The current government funding expired on Friday midnight as the Senate failed to advance a stopgap spending bill, which had passed the House of Representatives and would fund the government through Feb. 16.

Democrats had hoped that they could use the government spending as leverage to pass an immigration bill, while Republicans and the Trump administration insisted that they would not negotiate on immigration until Democrats give them enough votes to reopen the government.

"The president's position is clear: we will not negotiate on the status of unlawful immigrants while Sen. Schumer and the Democrats hold the government for millions of Americans and our troops hostage," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sunday in a statement.