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The Senate votes to end a three-day shutdown; Turkish troops go on the attack.
The government is officially open again
- After a three-day shutdown, the federal government is officially back open following a key Senate vote to pass a short-term spending bill. [Politico / Seung Min Kim, Burgess Everett, and Elana Schor]
- The government officially shut down at midnight on Friday after the Senate failed to pass a short-term spending bill to keep operations up and running. Now it’s back open, but only until we run up on another funding deadline three weeks from now. [Vox / Tara Golshan]
- Senate Democrats were the key votes to flip to open the government back up; a majority of Democrats blocked the spending bill on Friday (although four Republicans joined them). [Vox / Ella Nilsen, Dylan Scott, and Tara Golshan]
- So what did Democrats get for their votes? Not a lot. They got assurances from Republican leadership that they would get a vote on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, as well as funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Even though this might not look like much, Democrats essentially got Mitch McConnell to go on the record with these promises, which theoretically could make them harder to break. [Vox / Dylan Scott]
- A bipartisan group of senators formed this weekend to try to move talks forward and encourage leadership to speak to each other. The talks were led by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who literally made senators use a talking stick so no one interrupted each other. [BuzzFeed / Emma Loop]
- President Trump kept an unusually low profile this weekend as talks on Capitol Hill continued. Senate Democrats and moderate Republicans complained that the White House was impeding progress as Trump said no to multiple bipartisan deals, including one with $20 billion of border wall funding attached. [ABC News / Jonathan Karl]
- Trump reportedly wanted to make a deal with Democrats but was batted down by senior aides including Chief of Staff John Kelly and senior policy adviser Stephen Miller. It’s a sign of how far right Trump’s White House has shifted on immigration, as well as a sign that aides have a heavy hand in the decisions. [Vox / Ella Nilsen and Tara Golshan]
Turkey goes on the offensive
- Over the weekend, Turkish troops attacked US-backed Kurdish soldiers in northern Syria, opening yet another front in the seven-year Syrian conflict. [CNN / Tim Lister]
- The Turkish incursion came over protests from Washington. This not only highlights the Trump administration’s lack of influence over Ankara but will also likely complicate the relationship between the US and the Kurds. (The Kurds have provided the ground troops for the US-led fight against ISIS.) [NYTimes / Carlotta Gall]
- Turkey began airstrikes on Saturday, followed by a ground incursion involving Turkish special forces and factions of the rebel Free Syrian Army. The operation is targeting the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin, to which tens of thousands of Syrians have fled from other parts of the country. [CNN / Tim Lister]
- From Afrin, the Turkish operation is aiming to overthrow a militia made up of approximately 8,000 to 10,000 fighters affiliated with the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, a Syrian Kurdish group that has controlled territory in northern Syria and shown itself to be effecting in fighting the Islamic State group. [AP / Mehmet Guzel and Bassem Mroue]
- Sending a spacecraft close to the sun has always been one of NASA’s dreams. Now it’s about to be realized. [Washington Post / Sarah Kaplan]
- In case you wanted to feel even more disillusioned during day three of the government shutdown: Four out of five dollars of wealth generated in 2017 ended up in the pockets of the richest 1 percent, while the poorest half of the world saw no wealth increase. [Oxfam]
- Despite the excitement over North and South Korea’s Olympic unity, it’s not all fun and games for the women of South Korea’s ice hockey team, who have to give up hard-earned spots to their Northern neighbors. [NYT / Motoko Rich and Seth Berkman]
- If the warmer weather has got you missing the cold, then look behind the scenes at Sweden’s famous Icehotel, where housekeeping is more like snow shoveling. [Mental Floss / Lucas Reilly]
“Negotiating with President Trump is like negotiating with Jell-O.” [Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on the Senate floor Saturday, 12 hours into the government shutdown / CNN]
Watch this: It’s not you. Commuting is bad for your health.
My commute is like a second job, and it might be killing me. [YouTube / Kimberly Mas]