In it, but not of it. TPM DC

This story was updated at 11:58 a.m. EST.

Senate Democrats are on the brink of accepting a deal to end the government shutdown in exchange for the promise of a vote on the DREAM Act in the coming weeks, three sources tell TPM.

The details of the deal aren’t yet clear. But multiple Democratic sources familiar with an ongoing meeting of Senate Democrats on the Hill made it clear that an agreement to reopen the government for a few weeks was all but certain late Monday morning.

“There’s a deal and the vote will likely have room to spare above 60,” one source familiar with the Senate Democrats’ meeting told TPM.

Another Democrat familiar with the meeting confirmed the deal, while a third said that while there wasn’t a “done deal yet” there was an “outline” of a deal that would likely pass when the Senate takes it up on Monday.

That deal is expected to get strong support from Democrats — including fierce immigration advocates like Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), the leading Senate advocate for so-called “DREAMers” whose vote would provide cover for other Democrats to support an agreement.

Most Democrats stonewalled reporters as they exited the meeting, unwilling to talk. But Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), one of the few who’d bucked his party with a vote to keep the government open last Friday night, said he thinks the shutdown will end Monday.

“It was very positive. I think the government will be back open by 12:10 or 12:15,” he said of the meeting.

It won’t be quite that quick — the House still needs to vote on it, assuming the Senate passes the measure set to hit the floor, and President Trump will need to sign it. But it appears likely that at least for the short term, the government will reopen on Monday.

Immigration advocates spent the morning rallying Democrats against the compromise deal with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) — and they weren’t happy when TPM told them the news during a late morning conference call. There is likely to be strong blowback from the base if the deal does go through, as appears almost certain.

“If there’s a deal obviously there’s a lot of concern about what the nature of the deal will be and whether there’s empty promises from Mitch McConnell… or whether there’s something that’s actually meaningful,” America’s Voice Executive Director Frank Sharry told TPM in response to the news.

“The Democrats need to stand strong,” Center for American Progress head Neera Tanden said.

The deal will likely set up another shutdown showdown in early February.

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As the scramble to end the government shutdown dragged into the work week Monday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) urged senators in both parties to vote to fund the government until Feb. 8, and accept a loose promise from him to bring a bill to the floor that would address the status of the 700,000 young immigrants whose protections President Trump revoked last year, even if they don’t have an agreement with the White House or the House.

But, citing McConnell’s promises last year for votes on health care and immigration that were never honored, lawmakers in both parties say McConnell needs to offer something more concrete.

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President Donald Trump over the weekend largely stayed out of negotiations to reopen the federal government, tasking Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress with reaching a deal.

Trump left the negotiations to Congress at the direction of his advisers, who argued that Democrats were to blame for the shutdown and therefore Democrats needed to come around on an agreement to open the government, the Washington Post reported on Sunday. The President did speak with Republican leaders over the phone to strategize, the New York Times reported, but he mostly refrained from weighing in on the negotiations publicly, save for a few tweets blaming Democrats for the shutdown.

Instead of inserting himself into the negotiations, Trump spent much of the weekend glued to his television. On Saturday, he watched old clips of him criticizing President Barack Obama during the 2013 shutdown, a White House aide told the New York Times. Throughout the weekend Trump watched the cable news coverage of the shutdown and offered critiques to his aides who went on television to blame Democrats for the shutdown, according to the Washington Post.

Indeed, Trump tweeted praise for Fox News on Sunday night, presumably while watching his favorite cable news network.

On Sunday, Trump did not leave his private residence on the third floor of the White House, according to CNN. From there, he called some Republican leaders in Congress, urging them to reach a deal with Democrats to open the government, per CNN.

Though he ultimately kept a low profile, Trump told aides that he was concerned he would be blamed for the shutdown and wondered if he should be working to end it, per the Washington Post. In an attempt to show that he was working hard during the shutdown, the President posed for a photo of him on the phone in the Oval Office on Satueday, wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat.

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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) revealed over the weekend that, in a failed attempt to stave off a government shutdown, he met the President’s asking price on funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border in exchange for restoring the protections that Trump rescinded last year for roughly 700,000 young immigrants.

“The President picked a number and I accepted it,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. Noting that he still believes a wall is “expensive and a waste of money,” Schumer added that he made the “most generous offer” because it was “the last, best chance to avoid a shutdown.”

“All along the President is saying, ‘Well, I will do DACA and DREAMers in return for the wall,” he said. “He’s got it.” 

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As the government shutdown approached the end of its second day, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that a vote on a bill that would fund the government through Feb. 8 will take place at noon ET Monday — as opposed to 1 a.m., as originally scheduled. There is no guarantee that the legislation will earn the 60 votes it will need to overcome a filibuster, however.

In a floor speech announcing the schedule change, McConnell laid out an offer promising that the Senate consider an immigration bill if there is not a larger immigration deal between the Senate, the House and the White House by Feb. 8, assuming that there is not another government shutdown then. He also offered to vote on a spending bill on those terms at 10 p.m. ET Sunday night.

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If congressional leaders and the White House were moving any closer to reopening the government, there weren’t many signs of it on Capitol Hill Saturday evening.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told CNN that he had not talked to President Trump Saturday, after they meet in the Oval Office a day earlier.

“They have not called me. They say they’re not negotiating. That’s foolish,” Schumer said. “I have asked them to bring the big four, myself, Leader McConnell, Speaker Ryan and Leader Pelosi to the White House today, but we haven’t heard from them.”

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This story was updated at 3:10 p.m.

Cranky lawmakers returned to Congress on Saturday no closer to an agreement on ending the government shutdown than they were when the government ran out of funds at midnight the night before. The only thing they could agree on was that it was the other guy’s fault.

Democrats continued to demand that President Trump and GOP leaders include a fix to reinstate legal status for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals in any agreement, lambasting Trump for constantly changing his mind on what it would take to reach a deal, while Republicans accused their colleagues across the aisle of throwing a tantrum over immigrants.

Both sides seemed gearing up for a long-term shutdown, confident they’ll win argument with voters and seeming poised to wait until they see how the public reacts to it over the coming days and see if the other side blinks. And while lawmakers voiced hopes that they might be able to reach a short-term agreement before the end of the weekend, few sounded particularly optimistic — with some worried that the longer the shutdown dragged out, the harder it would be to reach a solution.

“I’d like to say it’s going to end pretty fast and I think it probably will end pretty fast because it’s stupid to be doing what we’re doing — but as of right now I don’t know if it’s going to be Friday or Sunday or Monday or Tuesday,” Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) told TPM early Saturday afternoon. “If it goes past Monday it’s a problem because it becomes easier to stay out and then an issue gets blurred and then personalities get involved and then nobody remembers why they’re fighting but they’re fighting and that’s when you really have trouble.”

That trouble already seemed well in place, with senior lawmakers and the White House going after one another in unusually personal terms as they sought to blame the other side for the ongoing shutdown.

“Negotiating with President Trump is like negotiating with jello. It’s next to impossible,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told reporters, slamming Trump for tentatively agreeing to a series of possible DACA deals before reneging on those pledges. “As soon as you take one step forward the hard right forces the president three steps back… It’s next to impossible to strike a deal with the president because he can’t stick to the terms.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) went hard after Schumer.

“He thinks the entire government should be shut down until he gets his way on illegal immigration,” he said in a floor speech to open the Senate on Saturday. “The solution is to end the foolishness that’s hurting millions Americans who have done absolutely nothing to deserve this.”

Things only got worse from there, as Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney accused Schumer of lying about the amount he offered Trump to fund the wall.

“Mr. Schumer is going to have to up his game a little bit and be more honest with the president of the United States,” he said in a White House briefing.

Schumer’s spokesman shot back:

Some lawmakers were more optimistic that they might be able to reach a deal to reopen the government for less than a month, with Feb. 8 being a date some in both parties bandied about.

“I think that there is a deal to be had, it’s just a matter of the will to get it done, and that’s the frustrating part. But I’m guardedly optimistic we’ll get something done by Monday,” Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), one of a handful of red-state Democrats who voted with the GOP to keep the government open on Friday night, told TPM.

But many said it was up to the president to show leadership, and nearly all Democrats remained firm in their demand for DACA to be a part of any deal.

“Only the internal workings of the cerebral mechanism of President Trump would answer that question. It is impossible for me to understand,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) told TPM when asked if he thought Congress might find a compromise before the end of the weekend.

And as they left an afternoon meeting, Democrats didn’t seem any closer to having landed on a way forward.

The White House made it clear that immigration was a nonstarter.

“We are committed to making sure the American people, especially our great military and the most vulnerable children are taken care of. The President will not negotiate on immigration reform until Democrats stop playing games and reopen the government,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

As both sides dug in, the vulnerable red-state Democrats who face tough reelections this fall voiced growing frustration.

“Forget about elections, forget about all that. This is not what we’re sent here to do. This is not our job. Our job is to keep the place open and running in more of a normal fashion. That’s not happening,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), another Democrat who broke with his party, told reporters as he entered a Democratic meeting Saturday afternoon. “I am pissed off.”

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Updated 12 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018 

The deadline to pass new funding to keep the federal government open passed Friday night without a deal in place, marking the beginning of at least a temporary shutdown.

Nearly every Senate Democrat and a handful of Republicans voted to filibuster legislation that would have averted a government shutdown late Friday evening, after hours of backroom negotiations failed to produce a deal.

More than an hour after the vote was called on to advance a temporary four-week House spending bill, it remained open past midnight as senators continued to huddle in large scrums and Leader Majority McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) left the floor together for period.

When the vote was finally gaveled to a close early Saturday morning, it fell well short of the 60-vote threshold necessary to bring the legislation to the floor. Forty-nine lawmakers, including five Republicans, voted against it. McConnell cast a no vote for procedural reasons.

“This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a strongly worded statement issued just before midnight.

The current impasse is over Democrats’ and some Republicans’ objections to Congress’ failure to come to an agreement on legislation to continue the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program that Trump rescinded, which protects from deportation young immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

The government shutdown comes just as President Trump’s presidency turns one year old, with the funding running out at midnight. McConnell indicated that the next step would to be to offer a spending bill that would reopen the government through February 8 — a date that Sen. Lindsay Graham, who voted against the House bill, had been pitching. Democrats had asked for a much shorter spending bill — one that would last  just a few days — to put pressure on lawmakers to come to a deal on DACA.

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The Senate has scheduled for 10 p.m. ET a procedural vote to advance the House bill that would fund the government for a month, though the path to avoiding a government shutdown does not look any clearer in the hours leading up to the votes.

The government will shut down at midnight if a spending bill does not pass.

A few Democrats have defected from Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) threats to block the bill, but not enough to guarantee the 60 votes the House bill will need move forward. A handful of Republicans have also said they will not vote for the month-long spending bill. Democrats object to how Republicans have shirked continuing an immigration program for young people brought to country illegally as children.

Senate Democrats plan to meet at 8:30 p.m. ET. The Democratic senators confirmed as supporting the GOP bill are Joe Manchin (WV), Joe Donnelly (IN), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), and Doug Jones (AL).

Neither Democrats nor Republicans — including members of the leadership teams — were able to give reporters many details about negotiations to keep the government open. Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) said earlier Friday evening he wasn’t sure if Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Schumer were talking about a potential deal.

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House members who would usually be well on their way back to their home districts by Friday afternoon have been instructed to stay in DC amid ongoing uncertainty about a government shutdown. With the ball currently in the Senate’s court after the House passed a one-month funding bill Thursday night, some House Republicans are grumbling that they should skip town to put pressure on the Senate to act, while others say it would look bad to leave DC with a shutdown looming.

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