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Shutdown blame debated by Washington’s Congressional delegation

UPDATED: Tue., Jan. 23, 2018, 9:57 a.m.

FILE - Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., accompanied by other members of Congress, speaks during a news conference Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, at Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jose Luis Magana / AP)
FILE - Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., accompanied by other members of Congress, speaks during a news conference Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, at Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jose Luis Magana / AP)

The halls of the Thomas S. Foley U.S. Courthouse were mostly quiet and dark Monday morning, with a few exceptions.

While the federal criminal justice system and immigration services were operating, other offices inside the federal compound in downtown Spokane were shuttered. A notice posted on the offices of the IRS, for instance, indicated they would be closed until the shutdown ended.

Those offices will be back open today, thanks to Congress’ decision to fund the government through Feb. 8.

All of Idaho and Washington’s senators supported the decision to end the shutdown. The vote sparked a sharp debate about who was to blame for the three-day shutdown.

In exchange for Democratic votes, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to resume negotiations on immigration policy, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program rescinded by President Donald Trump that allowed some immigrants who entered the country illegally as minors to remain in the United States.

“The fruitless attempt to shut down the government failed to make progress on a negotiated solution for DACA, and I worry it may have in fact harmed progress,” Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., said in a prepared statement. “Now that Democrats have joined Republicans to fund the federal government, Congress can get back to negotiating and garnering support for a legislative solution, requested by the president, which gives certainty to DACA beneficiaries and provides border security.”

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., warned that the government will shut down again “if Republican leaders renege on their commitment to work with us and to allow votes on the critical issues before us.”

“I support this short-term agreement not because I blindly trust Republican leaders to deliver on their commitments, but because I believe this path offers us the best chance to reach a comprehensive deal to protect families and communities in this Republican Congress,” Murray said in a prepared statement. “Republican leaders clearly understand that a majority of Democrats and Republicans support bipartisan solutions to the challenges in front of us, and they now realize that they can’t keep the government shut down in an attempt to stop that work from being done.”

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., noted that the deal included funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program for six years.

“Bipartisan negotiators in the House and Senate now have the time they need to put together a broader budget agreement that puts the safety and security of Americans first with adequate funds for our military to rebuild and restore our readiness,” McMorris Rodgers said. “A DACA fix remains on the agenda too, and I will keep pressing my colleagues working on a DACA deal to come to a bipartisan agreement as soon as possible.”

This story was changed on Jan. 23, 2018 to correct Sen. Patty Murray’s party. She is a Democrat.


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