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 AlexanderChina stalled reporting genetic information about COVID-19, angering WHO: report Senate GOP chairman criticizes Trump withdrawal from WHO Trump: US 'terminating' relationship with WHO MORE (Tenn.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsClyburn: Cowed GOP ascribes 'mystical powers' to Trump Trump pushes back against GOP senators' criticism of dispersal of protesters in Lafayette Square: 'You got it wrong' Trump, Biden battle to shape opinion on scenes of unrest MORE (Maine), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerSenate Republicans urge Trump to tone down rhetoric on protests The Hill's Campaign Report: Minneapolis protests rock the nation McConnell: Next coronavirus bill will be final COVID-19 package MORE (Colo.), Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonJustice Department closing stock investigations into Loeffler, Inhofe, Feinstein Loeffler runs ad tying Doug Collins to Pelosi, Sanders, Biden The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip MORE (Ga.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiBlumenthal to introduce legislation to limit Trump's power under Insurrection Act Calls for police reform sparks divisions in Congress GOP senators dodge on treatment of White House protesters MORE (Alaska) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyOvernight Defense: Pentagon chief says he opposes invoking Insurrection Act for protests | White House dodges on Trump's confidence in Esper | 'Angry and appalled' Mattis scorches Trump Republicans stand by Esper after public break with Trump 7 GOP senators slam State Dept for 'slow and inefficient policy' on passports 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.

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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 TrumpFormer employees critique EPA under Trump in new report Fired State Department watchdog says Pompeo aide attempted to 'bully' him over investigations Virginia senator calls for Barr to resign over order to clear protests 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 SchumerMcConnell blocks resolution condemning Trump over treatment of protesters House Democrat demands answers from Secret Service about role breaking up White House protests Pelosi, Schumer say treatment of protesters outside White House 'dishonors every value that faith teaches us' 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 SchatzCalls for police reform sparks divisions in Congress Overnight Defense: Esper, Milley part of 'command center' for response to protests over George Floyd killing | Several West Point cadets test positive for coronavirus ahead of Trump commencement speech | UN report says Taliban, al Qaeda not breaking ties Schumer calls on McConnell to schedule vote on law enforcement reform bill before July 4 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 McConnellSenate passes bill to give flexibility for small business coronavirus aid program On The Money: GOP turning against new round of ,200 rebate checks | Millions of Americans frustrated by delayed unemployment checks | Senate votes to give coronavirus relief program more flexibility Rand Paul holding up quick passage of anti-lynching bill 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 PelosiPelosi scoffs at comparison between Trump and Churchill: 'I think they're hallucinating' Republicans stand by Esper after public break with Trump Pelosi joins protests against George Floyd's death outside Capitol 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 GrahamHouse Judiciary Committee to hold hearing on police brutality next week McCabe, Rosenstein spar over Russia probe Rosenstein takes fire from Republicans in heated testimony 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 BluntCalls for police reform sparks divisions in Congress Washington prepares for a summer without interns GOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill MORE (R-Mo.), a member of GOP leadership, “by beginning the process of expanding it so that we can reach a conclusion.”