Top Republican Shoots Down Tentative Shutdown Deal

A top Senate Republican leader on Sunday dismissed the contours of a tentative bipartisan proposal aimed at re-opening the federal government before Monday morning. The plan, described to The Daily Beast by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), would offer Democrats a commitment to begin formal debate on an immigration bill before Feb. 8—the same day government funding expires again under the stopgap spending bill that the Senate will consider at 1 a.m. Monday morning. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) quickly shot down the idea, saying it plays into the Democrats’ hands. “We’re more than happy to have a vote on it well before the deadline,” Cornyn said. “Turning the agenda over to Democrats who just shut down the government makes no sense to me. It just seems like it encourages bad behavior.” Both sides remained at a stalemate over the weekend as Republicans said immigration-related negotiations would not resume until Democrats vote to re-open the government, while Democrats are seeking assurances on legislation that would codify legal protections for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

—Andrew Desiderio