Senate to Vote Thursday on Dueling Bills to End Government Shutdown
The Senate will vote Thursday on two bills to end the longest partial federal government shutdown in U.S. history, now in its second month.
One is President Donald Trump’s deal, proposed Saturday, which offers temporary protections to Dreamers, undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, in exchange for $5.7 billion in border wall funding. That offer was immediately rejected by Democrats.
The president tweeted, “No cave!” to Republicans on Tuesday morning.
The other bill would fund the agencies that have been shut down until Feb. 8 with no language for a border wall.
Each bill needs 60 votes in the Senate to pass and then goes to the Democratic-lead House. A majority of Democrats have said they won’t vote a bill with $5.7 billion for a border wall and the president said he won’t sign a bill without it.
Some of the 800,000 federal workers haven’t gotten paid in 32 days, yet some are still working. They face getting a second paycheck with another $0 at the end of the week. The situation has led some federal workers to seek help from food pantries, and with no income, they are choosing between medications and food.
In addition, FBI agents will lose some health insurance benefits if there is no money in their next paychecks. The FBI Agents Association on Tuesday released a 72-page report on the impact of the shutdown. One agent said it has “eliminated any ability to operate,” raising more fears over the nation’s security.
TSA workers continue to call in sick. Ten percent of that agency called in sick Sunday and 7.5 percent Monday.
The chief U.S. economist for S&P Global estimates the economic impact cuts $1.2 billion off the American gross domestic product every week. That means by Friday, the hit to the economy will be more than the proposed $5.7 billion in the president’s bill.
Trump also announced that he plans deliver the State of the Union address despite Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s request that he postpone it during the shutdown.
NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist conducted a poll last week which finds 59 percent of those polled say they mostly blame Trump or congressional Republicans for the shutdown. And 63 percent said they want their elected officials to compromise.
Joining us with the latest is “PBS Newshour” White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor.