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Shutdown Latest


It's day two of a partial federal government shutdown. Democrats and Republicans are struggling to negotiate a funding bill, as the clock keeps ticking, and the president keeps tweeting. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan just spoke about a new development on CBS's "Face The Nation."


PAUL RYAN: We passed a bill keeping things funded to Feb. 16. He is going to bring up a bill keeping funded to Feb. 8. We have agreed that we would accept that in the House. And so we will see sometime today whether or not they have the votes for that. And that's really where we are right now.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Here to talk about that is NPR's Kelsey Snell. Kelsey, thanks for joining us.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. So what did Speaker Ryan say in his interview, and what does it mean (laughter)?

SNELL: Well, the he he was talking about that we just heard is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. So the Senate is going to voted 1 a.m. right now. That's where it's scheduled - 1 a.m. on Monday morning - on a procedural vote that would start the process to allow them to vote on a bill that would keep the government open through Feb. 8. Ryan just said there that the House would accept that. Now, that means that it comes to the Democrats in the Senate and whether or not they are willing to support this idea. It's not a new idea. It's something that Senator Lindsey Graham floated, I believe, on Friday afternoon. And there's a little bit of support for that. It would get them past the State of the Union, so Republicans could have the government open, functioning and negotiating through the State of the Union. But it doesn't really buy them a lot of time.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So basically, what he's saying there is it's going to be a much shorter time. They're going to fund the government, kick the can farther down the road but, you know, a little bit shorter down the road, as opposed to trying to resolve this full stop.

SNELL: Yeah. The - I think the thing that they're trying to do at this point is find a way to reopen the government, if they can, before people are supposed to go to work on Monday because, you know, that is the point where a shutdown becomes much more real - is when people don't show up to work.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Is this going to make things easier, or will it just complicate matters? Because the devil is in the details, right? I mean, it's not just about how long they fund the government for but actually what's in the proposal.

SNELL: Yeah. And what's in this proposal, it sounds like, is just a shorter version of what was there before. And it does kind of make things more complicated at this point because everybody I have spoken with - Democrats and Republicans - say things have not gotten better over the past 24 hours. They have gotten more complicated. And people are really digging into their positions. Part of what's not helping things is both sides are focused very heavily on assigning blame. And while there are negotiations going on behind closed doors, it doesn't appear that they're getting any closer.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Let's talk about the differences that still exist. And they center around immigration. Am I right?


GARCIA-NAVARRO: What are the positions here?

SNELL: Well, Republicans are divided in some ways about how narrowly this should be focused on just the people - the roughly 700,000 people we know as DREAMers. They are the people who are in the country illegally after being brought here as children. Democrats and some Republicans would really like to focus on solving that discreet issue now and doing a broader immigration reform later once that issue is resolved because DACA protections go away in March. Now, Republicans say they need to deal with other issues, broader issues and fix the immigration system because, as Speaker Ryan said today, they believe that this DACA issue is a symptom of a broader in the way we handle immigration in this country.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So basically, at this point, what the Republicans are saying is it's not just about the DREAMers. We want to do other things. And these things have actually been President Trump's priorities all along - talking about changing the immigration system, saying that, actually, they didn't want to have people come to this country that was - family reunification was not a priority, and he wants to change so-called chain migration. How has President Trump contributed to this shift?

SNELL: Well, it's - he's made things kind of complicated because, as we saw last week at that meeting in the White House that was televised, he said he would sign anything. And Democrats took him at his word there, and they - that's why they felt that this negotiation that happened with six senators - bipartisan senators - would be acceptable. But it wasn't acceptable to the house, and it wasn't acceptable to many Republicans, even, in the Senate. So it is complicated because he is pulling them in a direction away from what some Democrats thought would be a solution.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. That's NPR's Kelsey Snell bringing us up to date. Thanks for coming in.

SNELL: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Kelsey Snell is a Congressional correspondent for NPR. She has covered Congress since 2010 for outlets including The Washington Post, Politico and National Journal. She has covered elections and Congress with a reporting specialty in budget, tax and economic policy. She has a graduate degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. and an undergraduate degree in political science from DePaul University in Chicago.