POLITICS & GOVERNMENT

Shutdown to end without support from NJ senators

BY Michael Hill, Correspondent |

The federal government is planning to reopen, but without the support of Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker. Both voted against the compromise to end the three day shutdown and fund the government for 17 days through Feb. 8.

If the House approves the same bill and the president signs it, it would mean thousands of non-essential workers in New Jersey and across the country will go back to work and back on the payroll at places like the Statue of Liberty, national parks, and the Social Security Administration and other federal agencies. Military members had to work but without pay, they’ll be compensated.

A group of Democrats and Republicans came up with the compromise. It re-authorizes the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, for six years. But, on immigration, Democrats only got a commitment from the Republican Senate majority leader to hold a February vote on Dreamers, more than a million unauthorized immigrants brought here as children. Republicans are relying on the White House to say what it wants on Dreamers and immigration reform before writing a bill.

Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy said he hopes Washington’s inaction does not hold Dreamers hostage.

“It bothers me deeply, you know. I’m of Irish immigration, the Germans, the Italians of 150 years ago, you know we’re doing stuff to new Dreamers, in particular, that we never would have done in our nation’s history. That’s not who we are. I’d like to think we’re not holding those young stars and those young people hostage,” said Murphy.

The White House says the shutdown is ending because Democrats have come to their senses.

In a statement, Menendez says the deal is a “short-term sham of a funding bill that abandons vital New Jersey priorities,” among them protecting Dreamers from imminent deportation.

Booker says he made a commitment “a long time ago that I wouldn’t vote for another CR [continuing resolution] that didn’t include a solution for Dreamers.”

Over the next 17 days, many eyes will be watching Washington to see what happens on immigration, and if the Democrats who voted to end the shutdown, made the right decision to trust the process.