January 25, 2019

US Senate Rejects 2 Proposals to End Shutdown

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The U.S. Senate failed to pass two measures aimed at ending the partial government shutdown in succeeding votes on Thursday.

Both measures would have reopened the government after being partially closed for 34 days, but neither plan received the 60 votes needed to pass.

Nine departments and multiple agencies have been without funding since Dec. 22.

The Senate first rejected a proposal which included provisions put forward by President Donald Trump such as setting aside $5.7 billion for a southern border wall, additional Border Patrol agents and protections for immigrants living illegally in the United States.

The chamber voted 50-47 on Trump’s plan. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., voted in favor of the measure — the only Democratic senator to do so — as did Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and a majority of her fellow Republicans; Utah’s Mike Lee and Arkansas’ Tim Cotton voted against the plan for not doing enough regarding immigration.

The second proposal, put forward by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., would have reopened agencies through Feb. 8 without providing any funding for a border wall. The measure would have set aside $14 billion in disaster aid. The plan failed 52-44; Manchin voted in favor while Capito opposed the proposal with most GOP lawmakers; six Republicans sided with Democrats in support the proposal.

“The Schumer bill, in my view, would have only pushed the can down the road. It was a temporary fix with no robust border security items in it,” Capito said in a video after the vote.

“In the next several weeks, we would’ve gone right back to where we were. I didn’t consider it a good faith effort. I didn’t see any concessions in the Schumer plan that made me think that this would have been the solution to the problem.”

As for Manchin, he said he will support “whatever it takes” to fully fund the government.

Multiple lawmakers spoke after the votes in hopes of pushing a message of cooperation, including Manchin, who expressed disappointment for the continuing shutdown.

“I have been in public service like all of you, and I think we are all in it for the right reason: we wanted to truly serve the public,” he said on the Senate floor. “We’re not serving the public, and we’re all guilty. Every one of us. I don’t care how you voted on bills (or) what we talk about. We’re all getting painted with the same brush right now.”

Manchin has made multiple stops in West Virginia since the shutdown began, including roundtables with federal workers impacted by the shutdown.

According to the senator, West Virginia has 12,000 federal workers.

“I have never seen more people impacted,” he said. “All they’re saying is this: You people really don’t care because none of you are hurting. You talk a good game. You play a lot of words back and forth, but no one is hurting. We’re the ones hurting.”

Senate leaders began mulling a three-week continuing resolution to end the shutdown and give lawmakers more time to debate border security efforts. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said a measure would work only if it included a “large down payment” for a southern border wall.

Manchin threw his support behind a three-week plan, noting a shared interest in border security from both parties.

“I think we can find a pathway forward for the president to give us the three weeks. And I guarantee you, I don’t think any of us will vote for another shutdown or let this happen,” he said. “But you can’t go another day longer. We cannot leave here until we fix this.”

Capito expressed support for bipartisan cooperation. She added in a press release a shutdown is “never the best way to govern,” but Democrats need to be willing to put forward a proposal that improves border security.

“We’ll get there,” she said. “It’s tough work, and I look forward to finding a solution.”

Around 800,000 federal employees will miss their paychecks Friday for the second time in a month because of the shutdown. The House of Representatives has no votes scheduled until Monday.

By:  Alex Thomas