After two full days of a partial government shutdown, the Senate is expected to vote on a bill that could be the first step in ending the stalemate.
“Today at noon, every Senator can vote to end this government shutdown. We will vote to end this filibuster and advance instead a bipartisan bill that would put this whole mess behind us,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote on Twitter.
The bill, hammered out in negotiations on Sunday, would fund the government for three weeks — until February 8 — while lawmakers continue working on the budget. While the current bill does include funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, commonly referred to as CHIP, it doesn’t include a solution on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — a sticking point for the majority of Democrats who opposed the measure on Friday that led to a partial shutdown. McConnell has said he intends to take up immigration legislation if it has not been resolved by the time the resolution runs out.
The question comes down to whether this guarantee will be enough for Democrats. The bill needs 60 votes to pass, so Republicans need 9 Democrats to join them if they have no defections from their own party. On Friday, when the bill failed 50-49, five Republicans joined the 44 Democrats who voted against the measure.
“This immigration debate will have a level playing field at the outset, and an amendment process that is fair to all sides. And it would be my strong preference for the Senate to consider a proposal that can be signed into law,” McConnell said on the floor Monday.
Even if the Senate manages to pass the bill, however, it won’t automatically become law. It would need to pass the House of Representatives before landing on President Trump’s desk.
You can watch the vote, which is expected to start at noon (E.T.), on the livestream above.