US Weekend Shutdown Over, Another Battle Looms in Weeks

President Donald J. Trump signs H.R. 195 – Federal Register Printing Savings Act of 2017, including Extension of Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018, in the Treaty Room at the White House, Monday January 22, 2018, in Washington, DC

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Washington, DC – The US government partial shutdown ended on Monday night (January 22) after President Donald Trump signed the stopgap spending bill, earlier passed by Republicans and Democrats. The White House said normal government operations will resume by Tuesday morning, ending the partial shutdown of the federal government after three days.

The spending bill passed the Senate by 81-18 and the House of Representatives earlier by 266-150 and would fund the government through February 8. It is the fourth temporary measure since October last year because Congress cannot agree on a longer-term budget.

The so-called continuing resolution keeps the government funded until February 8 in the hope that Congress can reach a longer-term budget agreement in the meantime.

There was hardly any movement for President Trump during the weekend as he was largely sidelined through the process. Trump didn’t leave the White House and even canceled a trip to Mar-a-Lago, for his one year anniversary fund-raiser.

Democrats, and even some Republicans, complained he was impossible to pin down and vague about his priorities. The Democratic leadership agreed to back the bill after accepting promises from Republicans for a debate later on the future of young illegal immigrants, called Dreamers and under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dodged questions at the daily briefing as to whether that would include a path to citizenship for DACA recipients, which is opposed by many Republicans. While answering questions, Sanders pointed to what the president has been saying about what he wants in an immigration bill. Ironically, the president has been continuously shifting his positions over the past week and even GOP leaders have complained about the lack of policy and direction.

Most of the media here agreed that the weekend shutdown would be forgotten before too long. The next fight, looming only weeks away, might be different. There is a potential flash point that the deal to vote on immigration proposals applies only to the Senate. The House could choose to ignore whatever the Senate takes up.

Thousands of federal employees who had been placed on temporary, unpaid leave since Saturday, however breathed a sigh of relief.

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