By ALAN FRAM, ANDREW TAYLOR and ZEKE MILLER
The Associated Press
Eds: Updates with vote underway, passage expected. With AP Photos. AP Video.
WASHINGTON — Democrats lined up behind a plan to reopen the federal government Monday as the Senate began a key vote.
Senators predicted a proposal to fund the government until Feb. 8 would move forward, overcoming a Democratic filibuster and clearing the way for an end to the three-day shutdown.
Democrats climbed onboard after two days of negotiations that ended with new reassurances from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that the Senate would consider immigration proposals in the coming weeks.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer lent his backing to the agreement during a speech on the chamber’s floor. “Now there is a real pathway to get a bill on the floor and through the Senate,” he said of legislation to halt any deportation efforts aimed at “Dreamers,” who were brought to the country as children and are now here illegally.
Earlier Monday, McConnell raised hopes for a quick end to the shutdown, saying “I hope and intend” to reach agreement soon on immigration and other contentious issues — if the Democrats agreed to the stopgap spending measure lasting a little less than three weeks.
The vote came as most government offices cut back drastically or even closed on Monday, as the major effects of the shutdown were first being felt with the beginning of the workweek. Before the government can reopen the Senate must vote on final passage, the House must approve it in turn, and President Donald Trump must sign.
McConnell said he hopes to reach bipartisan solutions on immigration, border security, disaster aid, military funding and more by Feb. 8. If not, he said “it would be my intention to take up legislation” addressing those issues.
The Senate over the weekend inched closer but ultimately fell short of a deal that could have reopened the government before the beginning of the workweek….