Senate rejects two measures to end shutdown

Senate Republicans blocked a stopgap measure to end the partial shutdown on Thursday, the second of two failed efforts to end the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

Senators voted 52-44 on the legislation, falling short of the 60 votes needed to defeat a filibuster.

GOP Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderTaylor Swift thanks Cory Booker for signing Equality Act petition Taylor Swift thanks Cory Booker for signing Equality Act petition Senate health panel to move forward on package to lower health costs next week MORE (Tenn.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsDemocrats' 2020 Achilles's heel: The Senate Democrats' 2020 Achilles's heel: The Senate The Hill's Morning Report — Uproar after Trump's defense of foreign dirt on candidates MORE (Maine), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerDemocrats' 2020 Achilles's heel: The Senate Cruz, Ocasio-Cortez efforts on birth control access face major obstacles McConnell defends Trump amid backlash: 'He gets picked at every day' MORE (Colo.), Johnny IsaksonJohn (Johnny) Hardy IsaksonSenate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump GOP senators work to get Trump on board with new disaster aid package Senators say they've reached deal on Puerto Rico aid MORE (Ga.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiHillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data Hillicon Valley: Hacker group targeted electric grid | House Democrats press CBP over facial recognition program | Senators offer bill to protect health data | Groups file FCC complaint over carriers' use of location data Klobuchar, Murkowski introduce legislation to protect consumer health data MORE (Alaska) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyMcConnell defends Trump amid backlash: 'He gets picked at every day' McConnell defends Trump amid backlash: 'He gets picked at every day' 'Landslide' for Biden? A look at 40 years of inaccurate presidential polls MORE (Utah) broke rank and voted to advance the stopgap bill, which would have reopened the quarter of the government currently shuttered and funded it through Feb. 8.

ADVERTISEMENT

The vote came after the Senate also rejected a White House–backed proposal on Thursday that would have exchanged reopening the government for $5.7 billion for the wall. It would have allowed Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients and some temporary protected status holders to apply for a three-year extension of some legal protections, but included new restrictions on asylum seekers.

In a blow to Trump, that proposal got less support in the Senate than the stopgap measure, failing in a 50-47 vote.

The back-to-back failed votes in the Senate guarantees that the partial government shutdown will stretch into next week. More than 800,000 federal workers have been furloughed or forced to work without pay; they will miss their second paycheck on Friday.

The rejection of the stopgap bill comes after the Senate passed a continuing resolution (CR) late last month that would have prevented the partial shutdown and funded the government through Feb. 8. But the political landscape changed dramatically for Republicans after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Trump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Ocasio-Cortez claps back at Trump after he cites her in tweet rejecting impeachment MORE indicated that he would not support it without extra funding for the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

The earlier bill was passed in a voice vote with senators singing Christmas carols while they waited for the vote.

The moods have changed considerably since then.

“Leader McConnell says that President Trump’s bill is the only way to open up the government — bull. He claims our bill won’t pass because President Trump won’t sign it. Has he ever heard of a veto override? Has he ever heard of Article I?” Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw US women's soccer team reignites equal pay push MORE (D-N.Y.) said from the Senate floor on Thursday.

Polls have consistently shown that a majority of Americans believe Trump is more to blame for the partial shutdown. A Fox News poll released Thursday found that 51 percent say Trump is more to blame, compared to Democrats and Republicans in Congress. Federal workers will mess their second paycheck during the shutdown on Friday.

Sen. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzHillicon Valley: Lawmakers angered over Border Patrol breach | Senate Dems press FBI over Russian hacking response | Emails reportedly show Zuckerberg knew of Facebook's privacy issues | FCC looks to improve broadband mapping Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers angered over Border Patrol breach | Senate Dems press FBI over Russian hacking response | Emails reportedly show Zuckerberg knew of Facebook's privacy issues | FCC looks to improve broadband mapping FCC to vote on proposal for improving broadband mapping MORE (D-Hawaii) said in a tweet on Friday that it wasn't “tenable” for Republicans to vote against reopening the government.

“You don’t get to say you want the government open but vote against the bill to reopen the government. It’s time to walk the talk,” Schatz said.

But Trump has shown no signs of backing down from his demand for wall funding. He tweeted on Thursday morning ahead of the vote: “Without a Wall there cannot be safety and security at the Border or for the U.S.A. BUILD THE WALL AND CRIME WILL FALL!”

Senate Republicans have largely remained aligned with Trump. They are defending a majority of their 2020 Senate seats in red states and don’t want to set up a fight with the president over an issue viewed as crucial to their base.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP nervous that border wall fight could prompt year-end shutdown GOP nervous that border wall fight could prompt year-end shutdown Jon Stewart slams McConnell over 9/11 victim fund MORE (R-Ky.) tried to characterize the decision between the two votes as wanting to make a “law,” by backing the GOP effort, or trying to make “points,” by supporting the short-term continuing resolution.

Republicans are trying to drive a wedge between House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOcasio-Cortez claps back at Trump after he cites her in tweet rejecting impeachment Ocasio-Cortez claps back at Trump after he cites her in tweet rejecting impeachment GOP nervous that border wall fight could prompt year-end shutdown MORE (D-Calif.) and Democrats, who have remained deeply unified throughout the weeks-long fight.

“They know the Speaker of the House is unreasonable on these subjects, with her own members and her own House majority leader openly contradicting her on national television, and that Senate Democrats are not obligated to go down with her ship,” McConnell said from the Senate floor.

Senators are hoping that both bills failing would force Trump and Democrats to restart talks, which derailed during a White House meeting earlier this month, though Thursday’s votes provided no clear path to a quick solution.

A group of moderate senators are continuing to talk behind closed doors and have floated asking for a temporary CR in exchange for agreeing to take up Trump's border request. Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump wishes 'Happy Father's Day to all,' including 'worst and most vicious critics' Trump wishes 'Happy Father's Day to all,' including 'worst and most vicious critics' Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw MORE (R-S.C.), who has been a part of that group, reiterated on Thursday that he still wanted to pass a three-week stopgap bill but they likely needed more buy-in from Pelosi if they were going to gain traction.  

Some GOP senators, including members of leadership, have also floated potentially broadening negotiations, by including more issues viewed as important Trump and Democrats, as an exit path.  

“I actually think the president will have moved this process forward,” said Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw McConnell ups pressure on White House to get a budget deal MORE (R-Mo.), a member of GOP leadership, “by beginning the process of expanding it so that we can reach a conclusion.”