Congress voted Monday to end a three-day government shutdown and fund federal operations through mid-February, winning votes from the entire Kansas Congressional delegation.
Both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate approved a short-term funding bill after disagreements between Republicans and Democrats over immigration policy brought Congress to a halt. Republicans blamed the shutdown on Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and labeled it the “Schumer Shutdown.”
Democrats had hoped for action on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which allows “dreamers,” or undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, to live and work in the country. President Donald Trump rescinded the Obama-era executive order that created DACA in September. According to the Associated Press, that debate will come in February.
The U.S. Senate voted first to fund the government and reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which covers approximately 79,000 children in Kansas. Sen. Pat Roberts and Sen. Jerry Moran, both Republicans, supported the measure.
“We extended the Children’s Health Insurance Program for a record six years, and I am pleased the Senate may now continue its work on appropriations, increasing defense spending and addressing illegal immigration,” Roberts said in a statement. “It is unfortunate that the minority’s stunt of shutting down the government was simply a needless delay in doing the work Americans expect of the Congress.”
Roberts said he would work with fellow senators to find a “reasonable and compassionate” solution for dreamers.
Kansas’ four House members, all Republicans, also unanimously supported the measure. U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, a Republican representing Kansas’ Third District, said in a statement he was pleased to vote for the bill, which he said was nearly identical to one Republicans supported last week.
“I’m thankful Democrats finally conceded, and I look forward to working with members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to come up with immigration solutions as we should be — separate from essential funding bills,” Yoder said. “Nothing was accomplished by this shutdown, period.”
Rep. Lynn Jenkins, a Republican representing the Second District, said in a statement she was glad to see CHIP reauthorized after the House voted to do so.
“As a long-term supporter of CHIP, I am pleased the Senate finally took action on this measure,” Jenkins said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to try and resolve the other issues that remain.”
Rep. Ron Estes, a Republican representing Wichita and the surrounding Fourth District, said Democrats voted to shut the government down over “unrelated” immigration issues.
“The bottom line is that a government shutdown is never good for the American people, which is why I’m glad to see that my colleagues across the aisle in the Senate have agreed to end their filibuster so that together we can work on solutions to the problems facing our country,” Estes said.
Rep. Roger Marshall, a Republican representing Kansas’ Big First District, said in a statement he was happy to see the shutdown end, though he was not happy Congress passed a short-term funding solution.
“As far as DACA, I have long supported bipartisan DACA and border security negotiations. However, at this point, I still do not see a bill that can pass both chambers,” Marshall said.
Marshall said he was confident Congress could find a solution by March 5, when DACA would be phased out.