A bipartisan group of about twenty senators are trying to find a solution to the shutdown mess. Senators left a ninety-minute meeting this afternoon optimistic, but acknowledging the plan still needs the imprimatur of both of their senate leaders.
The plan calls for a reopening of the government with a funding bill through February 8. In exchange, there will be a commitment to holding an immigration vote before that date. The moderates want assurances that the Senate will move to a bill in early February and stay on it until something passes. The group said it doesn’t have a particular immigration bill or solution in mind, just “whatever can get sixty” votes, passing it out of the Senate.
The two senate leaders, Sens. Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer agreed to meet privately later today. The two leaders huddled on the Senate floor Sunday afternoon, their first interaction since Friday.
Complicating matters is whether a bill, even if it were to pass out of the Senate, would be taken up by the House. That dynamic is what ultimately doomed an attempt at comprehensive immigration reform in 2013. And it’s why many liberal Democrats want an immigration bill attached to a spending bill.
“It depends on whether it’s part of a must-pass bill. That is my strong preference. The goal is to have the DREAMer Act passed,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said. “I have no confidence, zero, in [Speaker of the House] Paul Ryan bringing that bill to the floor.”
As of now, the Senate is expected to vote on a bill that will fund the government through February 8. That vote is scheduled to take place at 1a.m. Monday morning. Many are worried that if that vote takes place, absent any breakthrough on immigration, it may put a resolution to the shutdown further out of reach.
“What we are trying to avoid is a vote that fails tonight,” Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) said.