By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - The Senate voted Monday to end a thee-day government shutdown as its full effects began to be felt with hundreds of thousands of federal workers forced to stay home at the start of the work week.
The 81-18 vote would fund the government through Feb. 8 in exchange for a pledge from the Senate's Republican leadership to take up a renewal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration protections for those brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
A bipartisan group of senators had been lobbying Democratic and Republican leadership Sunday on the compromise measure, but an expected early Monday morning vote was called off at the last minute, and delayed until noon.
"So long as the government remains open, it would be my intention to take up legislation that would address DACA, border security, and related issues," Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor ahead of the vote. "Let me be clear, this immigration debate will have a level playing field at the outset and an amendment process that is fair to all sides."
Senate Democrats had hinged their support for any spending bill on DACA's renewal, and McConnell's vow was sufficient to guarantee the vast majority of the party lent support to the short-term funding bill.
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer took to the Senate floor to slam President Donald Trump whose "unwillingness to compromise", he said, prompted the shutdown.
Schumer said he is "confident” he can gather 60 Senate votes to advance a DACA bill as negotiations resume.
The “Republican majority now has 17 days to prevent the Dreamers from being deported,” he said, using the popular name for DACA recipients.
House Speaker Paul Ryan told Fox News earlier Monday the House of Representatives will pass the bill, signaling an end to the shutdown is imminent. The House originally passed a stopgap bill that would have funded the federal government through Feb. 16, but the change to the bill in the Senate forced House lawmakers to vote on the new terms.
Trump is expected to sign the legislation into law to officially end the shutdown.