The Senate has no resolution to vote on a measure that would halt a government shutdown, and without a rare showing of bipartisanship - the government will shut down. Although the House of Representatives, during the last minutes of Thursday, passed a bill to avert the shutdown - the Senate provides no such hope. This might come as a surprise sinceboth the House and Senate are controlled by the Republican Party. A citizen might assume that they could pass anything.
However, the Senate has a supermajority rule - meaning that 60 out of 100 senators will need to approve this funding proposal. Therefore, the vote requires votes from both parties, Democrats and Republicans alike. The House of Representatives, on the other hand, has no such rule. The House Republicans were able to pass the government funding bill without the help of Democrats with a vote of 230-197. This bill will fund the government until February 16.
The issues at stake are: government funding, CHIP, and the continued DACA/Dreamers program. Republican Senators argue that continuing to support short-term government funding bills harms the military. Democrats on the other hand refuse to support the bill because it does not address the DACA issue. CHIP is the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program, to which billions of dollars of funding was added in the House Republican bill.
DACA or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is essentially a program designed to help young undocumented immigrants stay in the country who entered as minors. Dreamers, those who have received help from DACA, were eligible to receive deferred action from deportation and a work permit. President Trump plans to scrap it, thereby sending hundreds of thousands of young immigrants out from the United States, even though some have never lived anywhere else.
The top Senators from both parties, Chuck Schumer (D) and Mitch McConnell (R) fought for most of Thursday evening - however, no solution has yet been reached. McConnell said in an email that he would keep the Senate in session over the weekend if no deal was reached. However, without any kind of move towards compromise - there appears to be no agreement.
What happens if the government shuts down? Everything that is funded by the government will cease to operate unless a solution is found. That means government employees will not be able to go to work. Beyond that, teachers will not get their paychecks. National parks will be closed. In essence, it affects a lot of people. So when the Senate debates later today, will they keep in mind the millions of Americans impacted by their lack of ability to compromise or will the government shut down for a days, a week, a month or more and cause the country to lose millions of dollars in the meantime? We’ll find out later today.
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