Senate leaders aim to speed bill through to reopen government
Senate leaders on Friday said they hope to send President Trump a short-term funding bill that will reopen the government by day’s end, after Mr. Trump said he would support a measure to fund the government for three weeks while broader negotiations over border security take place.
“I was glad to see today the president’s announcement that he and Democrats have reached an agreement that will immediately reopen the government, while providing the room to negotiate a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“With cooperation, we can pass legislation opening the government and send the DHS appropriations bill to a conference with the House today,” said Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said that the longest shutdown in the country’s history “will finally end today.”
“We expect the continuing resolution to clear the House and be signed by the president today,” said Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat.
Many House lawmakers have already left town, but the chamber could approve a Senate-passed plan via unanimous consent to get it to Mr. Trump’s desk on Friday.
The agreement to end the partial shutdown wouldn’t provide money for new construction on Mr. Trump’s desired U.S.-Mexico border wall, instead kicking things to House and Senate negotiators to come up with a deal on homeland security funding by Feb. 15.
Mr. McConnell said he hopes Democrats will stay true to their word and negotiate a full-year homeland security funding bill once the government is reopened “that would include a significant investment in urgently needed border security measures, including physical barriers.”
“The days ahead will tell us whether my Democratic colleagues are actually serious about securing our nation; whether they actually mean what they say,” he said. “The president called on the Senate to act on these proposals, and now that there is an agreement between Democrats and the White House, we can make that happen.”
Mr. Schumer said there’s room for common ground on border security in general, but that Democrats remain opposed to building a wall.
“I believe there’s good faith on both sides to reach an agreement,” he said.
Mr. Trump hinted that he could declare a national emergency after Feb. 15 if lawmakers can’t strike a deal a move many Democrats have said would be a legally suspect maneuver to secure wall funding without approval from Congress.