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 AlexanderDemocrats worried about Trump's growing strength The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Overnight Defense: Senate votes to rein in Trump war powers on Iran | Pentagon shifting .8B to border wall | US, Taliban negotiate seven-day 'reduction in violence' MORE (Tenn.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsErnst endorses bipartisan Grassley-Wyden bill to lower drug prices Senate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Toward 'Super Tuesday' — momentum, money and delegates MORE (Maine), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerErnst endorses bipartisan Grassley-Wyden bill to lower drug prices Senate Democrats pressure Trump to drop ObamaCare lawsuit Impeachment fallout threatens to upend battle for Senate MORE (Colo.), Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonProgressive group backs Senate candidates in Georgia, Iowa Overnight Health Care: Trump budget calls for cutting Medicaid, ACA by T | Trump proposes removing FDA authority over tobacco | Lawmakers frustrated by lack of emergency funds for coronavirus Anti-abortion group backs Loeffler's election campaign after opposing her Senate appointment MORE (Ga.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiDemocrats worried about Trump's growing strength The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Overnight Defense: Senate votes to rein in Trump war powers on Iran | Pentagon shifting .8B to border wall | US, Taliban negotiate seven-day 'reduction in violence' MORE (Alaska) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyOn The Trail: Democrats plan to hammer Trump on Social Security, Medicare Donald Trump: Unrepentant, on the attack and still playing the victim The Hill's Campaign Report: New challenges for 2020 Dems in Nevada, South Carolina 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 TrumpCensus Bureau spends millions on ad campaign to mitigate fears on excluded citizenship question Bloomberg campaign: Primary is two-way race with Sanders Democratic senator meets with Iranian foreign minister 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 SchumerBarr to testify before House Judiciary panel Graham won't call Barr to testify over Roger Stone sentencing recommendation Roger Stone witness alleges Trump targeted prosecutors in 'vile smear job' 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 SchatzBooker, Merkley propose federal facial recognition moratorium Poll: Majority of Democrats say Electoral College delegates should cast ballots based on popular vote Democrats praise Romney for breaking with GOP on convicting Trump 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 McConnellErnst endorses bipartisan Grassley-Wyden bill to lower drug prices Senate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Trump declares war on hardworking Americans with new budget request 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 PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders on the rise as Nevada debate looms Lawmakers push back at Trump's Pentagon funding grab for wall Malaysia says it will choose 5G partners based on own standards, not US recommendations 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 GrahamGraham warned Pentagon chief about consequences of Africa policy: report Senate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony US defense chief says Taliban deal 'looks very promising' but not without risk 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 BluntSenate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony Booker, Merkley propose federal facial recognition moratorium GOP senators defend Sondland, Vindman ousters: They weren't 'loyal' MORE (R-Mo.), a member of GOP leadership, “by beginning the process of expanding it so that we can reach a conclusion.”