Congress Votes to Re-Open Government

Republican and Democrats have agreed to reopen the government. The vote was 81 to 18 to invoke cloture on debate and proceed to a vote on the underlying Continuing Resolution in the Senate, the "continuing" part being funding the government. That passed the Senate overwhelmingly, and later in the day the House added its approval 266 to 150. The CR only goes through Feb. 8, so there could be another shutdown if they can't agree on an appropriations bill.

The government shutdown began at midnight Friday (Jan. 19) and there was much acrimonious floor talk over the weekend before the semi-kumbaya moment Monday announcing a deal had been reached.

The FCC was among the agencies that did not have to shut down given that it had enough funds to continue for at least a week.

Democratic minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) thanked Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republicans and Democrats who had worked toward compromise. But he was emphatic in excluding President Trump from the deal, saying the Trump shutdown was about to end, and that he had been disengaged and on the sidelines during the weekend's negotiations. "The great dealmaking President sat on the sidelines," said Schumer.

For His part, McConnell called the shutdown pointless and damaging theatrics.

Raj Shah, White House deputy Press Secretary, told CNN that the President was engaged and that the fact that the Senate Democrats voted for a proposal that was on the table Friday, when the President had talked with Schumer, showed that they had "blinked."

The President went further.

"I am pleased that Democrats in Congress have come to their senses and are now willing to fund our great military, border patrol, first responders, and insurance for vulnerable children," he said in a statement. "As I have always said, once the Government is funded, my Administration will work toward solving the problem of very unfair illegal immigration. We will make a long-term deal on immigration if, and only if, it is good for our country."

But in an e-mail to supporters, he said the Democrats had "caved." "Democrats in red states we won big league saw how ANGRY you were with their disgusting tactics, and couldn’t go on any longer," he said.

Republican leadership agreed to take up an immigration bill separately, but some Democrats weren't convinced they could be trusted to do so.

Republicans agreed to address the immigration issue separate from the CR, though some Democratic activists weren't so sure.“This is a bad, outrageous deal. Trump and Republicans in Congress stood with their anti-immigrant nativist base, and too many Democrats backed down, abandoned Dreamers, and failed to fight for their values," said

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.