>> Well, today is the day to celebrate.>> A bipartisan group of moderate Senators were the key to hammering out a deal that ended the US Government shutdown on Monday. Now the two dozen or so Democrats and Republicans could be the make or break factor, as a new deadline looms in talks on immigration.
Ginger Gibson is reporting the story.>> This group of moderate Senators came together under the leadership of Republican Susan Collins of Maine and Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia. They started with just 18 members on Friday night before the Government shutdown. And there, what they told me, was an organic process, grew their numbers to 25 Senators.
About evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. Every member of the Senate, who I spoke with, said that this group was integral to getting the shutdown ended. And a compromise onto the floor of the Senate that would reopen Government.>> The group, calling itself The Common Sense Coalition, held marathon meetings as acrimony among Senate leaders Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer threatened to prolong the shutdown.
Negotiations had stalled over the Republican's refusal to bow to demands of Democrats that the short term spending bill to reopen the Government include protections for young people known as Dreamers brought to the US illegally as children. The Senators crafted a compromise. A three week funding bill in exchange for a promise by McConnell that a vote on immigration would take place next month.
>> We can play a useful role.>> The group of moderate Senators met in Collins' office and reportedly passed around Native American talking stick, so that lawmakers would speak in turn and not interrupt.>> There's a lot of optimism among members of this bipartisan group that they're going to be able to continue to find solutions, and that as they do so, that will give them sort of a lasting ability to influence bipartisan legislation.
>> That will now be put to the test with the short term bill set to expire on February 8th.