The Senate this afternoon rejected competing Republican and Democratic plans to end the partial government shutdown, now in its 34th day.
The Republican plan, put forth by President Trump, would have provided temporary protections for young immigrants currently enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in exchange for $5.7 billion for Trump’s border wall. The vote was 51-47 but needed 60 votes to pass.
The Senate also rejected the Democratic plan, which would have simply reopened the government without any wall funding through Feb. 8, giving Congress more time to continue negotiations on the issue of border security.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) agreed to hold today’s floor votes to stake out each party’s position and to provide some avenue for deal-making to reopen the government. In effect, the defeat of both measures has shown party leaders and the White House what is not possible and what concessions might be needed to advance a new plan.
“Sometimes failure is a prelude to people looking at each other and saying, well, now we know what will fail, let’s try to devise something that will succeed,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) told the Washington Post this week.
Senate Democrats have been holding firm against any funding for the wall, and McConnell suggested today that the president is the only one willing to compromise on a deal.
“Our friends across the aisle have said repeatedly that they have no intention to negotiate out of this stalemate,” McConnell said. “It’s time to make a deal. And fortunately, a deal is on the table.”
Schumer said the Republicans are asking Democrats to make a huge concession while holding federal workers hostage, while the Democratic plan simply allows the government to reopen while talks continue. “We’re not demanding anything,” Schumer said. “Just open up the government and then let’s discuss it.”
House Democrats were waiting to see the outcome of the two Senate votes but are reportedly preparing a counter-offer. That plan will reportedly not include new money for a physical wall at the U.S.-Mexico border but would include additional funding for enhanced border security technology.