The federal government will not reopen on Monday morning. On Sunday night, Democratic leaders rejected an offer from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to consider immigration legislation in the next three weeks if they agreed to end the shutdown.
A large bipartisan group representing more than one-fifth of the Senate had been working throughout the weekend to resolve, at least temporarily, the stalemate that shut down the government on Saturday. Their goal was to nip the shutdown in the bud, avoiding the need to furlough hundreds of thousands of federal workers on Monday morning.
But shortly after 9 p.m. EST, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer rebuffed McConnell’s attempt to vote on a bill that would have restored federal funding for three weeks and kept the government open while party leaders negotiated a much broader agreement encompassing the budget, disaster aid, children’s health care, and most delicately, the fate of nearly 700,000 young immigrants whose protections from deportation are set to end in early March. “Talks will continue,” Schumer said, “but we have yet to reach an agreement on a path forward that would be acceptable to both sides.”
Instead, the Senate is set to hold its next key vote Monday at noon. The question now is whether the two parties and the White House can strike a deal by then, or if not, whether a handful of Democrats will break with their party and accept McConnell’s offer to reopen the government. Moments after McConnell made his offer, Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona announced he would support his proposal for a three-week continuing resolution. Late Friday night, Flake had voted with Democrats to block a four-week stopgap spending measure and shutter the government.