AMERICA’S first government shutdown in more than four years looks likely to end only three days after it began. Over the weekend of January 20th and 21st, the two parties seemed to be digging in. But by 1pm on Monday, January 22nd the Senate voted 81-18 to end the shutdown and back a bill to fund the government until February 8th. Paul Ryan, the House speaker, said his caucus would pass the bill quickly. Government shutdowns are costly and embarrassing; on the Senate floor during the vote there were a lot of smiles. They may not be there long. For now the worst has been averted, but the disagreement that precipitated the shutdown is starker than ever.
And now it has an added layer of procedural uncertainty. In exchange for voting to reopen the government, Democrats wrung a promise from Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, to bring a legislative fix for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)—an Obama-era executive action that shielded hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to America as children from deportation—up for a vote.