President Donald Trump signs H.R.195, a bill to end the federal government shutdown, on January 22, 2018. Photo: Joyce N. Boghosian / White House
National | Politics

President Trump signs bill to end three days of government shutdown

The shutdown of the federal government is over after three days of confusion.

President Donald Trump signed H.R.195, the Federal Register Printing Savings Act, into law on Monday. Although the bill's name sounds out of place, it reopens the government and keeps it up and running through February 8.

"I am pleased that Democrats in Congress have come to their senses and are now willing to fund our great military, border patrol, first responders, and insurance for vulnerable children," Trump said in a statement that blamed one party for the short-lived shutdown, even though some Democrats were against the shutdown and some Republicans went along with it.

"As I have always said, once the government is funded, my administration will work toward solving the problem of very unfair illegal immigration," Trump added. "We will make a long-term deal on immigration if, and only if, it is good for our country."

Republican leaders in the Senate, where attempts to prevent the shutdown failed late Friday, are now promising to take action on immigration, one of the issues that led to the stalemate. A major sticking point is the status of the so-called Dreamers, who were brought to the United States and children by their immigrant families.

"The GOP Majority now has 17 days to prevent #Dreamers from being deported," Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York), the Democratic leader in the chamber, wrote in a post on Twitter on Monday.

Republicans leaders in the House, who also blamed Democrats for the shutdown, have said they are willing to work on immigration and the Dreamers, who had been protected by a program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals until Trump ended it last year.

“We need to move forward in good faith, yes on DACA and immigration, yes on funding our military so that it gets the resources that our military so badly needs," Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), the Speaker of the House, said in a floor speech on Monday.

The shutdown left thousands of Bureau of Indian Affairs employees out of work on Monday. One-third of the workforce, or about 2,700 employees, had to be furloughed, according to the agency's contingency plan.

But police officers and employees responsible for protecting life and property were among those exempted from the shutdown.

Schools operated by the Bureau of Indian Education also were exempt. Classes went on as usual on Monday as teachers and staff reported to work.

The Indian Health Service was largely unaffected too, as hospitals and clinics run by the agency were able to stay open to provide direct services and make referrals, according to the contingency plan. More than 14,000 employees were exempt from the shutdown, representing the vast majority of the workforce.

H.R.195 passed the Senate by a vote of 81 to 18. The "NAYs" came from 16 Democrats and two Republicans.

The bill passed the House by a vote of 266 to 150. Six Republicans joined 144 Democrats in opposing the measure.

Besides keeping the government funded at current levels through February 8, H.R.195 extends the Children's Health Insurance Program for six years. Congress had let the popular program, which helps thousands of American Indian and Alaska Native children, expire last year.

Related Stories:
Mark Trahant: Indian Country will be hit hard by government shutdown (January 22, 2018)
Federal shutdown looms as President Trump confuses his own party (January 18, 2018)
Cronkite News: Children of immigrants eye permanent 'Dreamers' solution (January 17, 2018)