Bills to re-open government fail in US Senate, temporary solution eyed

A Bill backed by Republican President Donald Trump to end the shutdown by funding the wall he wants to build on the US-Mexico border and a separate Bill supported by Democrats to reopen shuttered agencies without such funding did not get the votes required to advance in the 100-member chamber.

The next attempt to reach a breakthrough is expected to come from the House, where Democratic leaders are reportedly prepping a bill that would spend $5.2 billion on border security-mostly high-tech options like drones and cameras-without granting permission for Trump to build a physical wall.

Trump responded in real time on Twitter saying, "very simply, without a Wall it all doesn't work".

An official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that the 1pm EST announcement would be about the government shutdown but would not comment on what the president plans to say.

Republicans also said Mr. Trump's plan was the only one he's willing to sign, since the White House has threatened to veto bills that don't include border wall money.

Most Democrats oppose direct funds for wall construction, but some have begun publicly advocating for negotiating a solution that includes boosted border funding, including for border structures.

The White House had said Trump would veto the Democratic measure, which was previously passed by the House.

The voting in the two failed resolutions on Thursday were telling for Trump because six of his own party's Senators crossed over to support the Democratic proposal while two Republicans voted against their party's counter proposal.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Senate will pass legislation on Friday that will reopen the government. The shutdown, which began shortly before the Christmas holiday and entered into its 34th day Friday, became the longest budget impasse in USA history.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Thursday urged furloughed federal workers to seek loans to pay their bills while adding in a CNBC interview that he could not understand why they were having trouble getting by. Many of those workers missed their second paycheck on Friday.

President Donald Trump issued a compromise offer to end the shutdown during a speech on January 19.

President Trump ended with a threat to shutdown the government again or "use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the constitution of the United States to address this emergency". -Mexican border, with Democrats appearing unyielding in their opposition to Trump's wall.

A Washington Post-ABC News opinion poll published on Friday showed public disapproval of Trump has swelled 5 percentage points to 58 percent over three months, with a majority of Americans holding him and congressional Republicans most responsible for the shutdown. JPMorgan economists said on Thursday that they had revised first-quarter economic growth estimates from 2% to 1.75% because of the effects of the shutdown.

A high-tech border barrier, rather than a wall or steel fence, may hold the key to a settlement.

But shortly after the votes, a possible way out of the deepening crisis began to take shape, when Senate leaders huddled in private to discuss a proposal to fund lapsed federal agencies for three weeks, to allow for negotiations over border security.

About two dozen House Democrats got a lesson in Senate etiquette and national politics as they trooped over to watch the Senate vote on dueling bills to reopen the government.

The measure would have also provided three years of continued protection against deportation for 700,000 immigrants brought to the USA illegally as children.

  • Tracy Klein