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Despite Ongoing Talks, It's Day 3 Of The Government Shutdown


It is day three of the federal government shutdown. Lawmakers worked all weekend to try to reach an agreement. Last night, the Senate leadership agreed to vote on a resolution today at noon Eastern time. If it passes, the government will reopen but just for three weeks. The debate, though, over immigration policy has yet to be resolved, which is the issue that led to the shutdown in the first place. NPR's Scott Detrow is here in the studio to talk about this. Hey, Scott.


MARTIN: Is the shutdown likely to end today?

DETROW: Unclear, but there's is a path out of it that did not exist for most of the weekend.

MARTIN: OK. That's progress.

DETROW: That's progress. Not many Democrats are publicly committing to this vote that's going to happen at noon. But many of them were in the room over the weekend as moderates from both parties worked to strike some sort of deal here. A lot of Democrats still don't like this, especially the ones who pushed to take the stand to begin with. It does not resolve the immigration issue at all, just a promise to work on it some time soon, which is what Republicans were saying all along. And it's three weeks instead of four weeks, difference of just one week. So that's where we are at the moment.

MARTIN: Does that mean that the Democrats blinked? - because, basically, Republicans are just saying the same thing they have said before. Trust us. We'll fix immigration.

DETROW: I think that might be the best way to look at it. Or just enough Democrats might be willing to blink later today to get this bill passed. President Trump and Mitch McConnell have been promising to get a permanent protection for DACA all along. And this really is more of the same there. And that's what led to this to begin with. A lot of Democrats were just fed up with President Trump seeming to agree to some sort of compromise in one moment and then going back, you know, later in the day or the next day. And, you know, Republicans have argued all along that they have until March to deal with DACA. That's when the program was set to expire.


DETROW: Of course, it's in a holding pattern right now with the federal government - with a federal judge ruling otherwise. But Democrats have argued that you have hundreds of people in the program losing protections each day. This needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later.

MARTIN: This clearly means Democrats are the ones who are feeling the political pressure if they're the ones who are going to compromise in this moment.

DETROW: Yeah. I think that's true. Basically, every single Democrat in Congress wants to get a solution for DACA, wants to do this immediately, feels very strongly about it. But as this progressed and as Republicans started repeating the line that Democrats are siding with illegal immigrants over the military, over the federal government, we heard from a lot of Democrats who said they were worried by that. They were worried that Republicans were winning the argument with voters over this shutdown.

MARTIN: If the shutdown does come to an end and a deal comes together, will that have happened because of President Trump or despite him?

DETROW: I think really despite President Trump. He was missing in action almost the whole weekend. President Trump stayed in the White House - no public appearances, hardly any tweets even. And from what we can tell, he wasn't really involved in the negotiations, which was really an interesting turn.

MARTIN: Lindsey Graham - Senator Graham over the weekend said the White House has been standing in the way of a deal on immigration. And he did not mean the president when he said that. He meant White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller.

DETROW: Yeah. The quote that Graham said was, "as long as Stephen Miller's in charge of negotiating immigration, we're going nowhere. Miller's is a real hardliner, one of the many staffers who seems to be pulling Trump back from the deals Trump wants to make." But, you know, the Republican Party has really shifted. And actually, many, many voters are more in line with Stephen Miller than Lindsey Graham who wants a broad compromise.

MARTIN: NPR's Scott Detrow - thanks so much, Scott.

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

Scott Detrow is a White House correspondent for NPR and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast.