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Shutdown update: Senate to vote on bills to fund government, though unlikely to pass

Partisan plans unlikely to end shutdown

The Senate today is taking up competing bills aimed at ending the partial government shutdown, though both are likely to fail, leaving the stalemate that's in its fifth week with no real progress.

Both Senate measures would reopen federal agencies and pay 800,000 federal workers who are days from missing yet another paycheck. Republicans would pair ending the 34-day shutdown with $5.7 billion for President Trump's border wall and overhauling immigration laws. Democrats would reopen agency doors for three weeks while a budget accord is sought.

Proposals need 60 votes to advance in the Senate, which is under 53-47 Republican control. "It's hard to imagine 60 votes developing for either one," said Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri.

Republican Sens. Cory Gardner and Susan Collins have said they will vote for both bills, as has Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin.

Democrats insist on opening the government first rather than reward Mr. Trump's tactics, while Republicans warn that immediately reopening the government would give Democrats too much leverage in any talks. "No shutdown. No hostages," said Rep. Ruben Gallegos, D-Arizona.

The partial shutdown began just before Christmas after Mr. Trump indicated he wouldn't sign a stopgap spending bill backed by top Republicans like Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who shepherded a Senate bill funding the government up to Feb. 8. The House passed a plan with wall funding as one of the last gasps of the eight-year GOP majority.

On Thursday, almost five weeks later, House Democrats continued work on a package that would ignore Mr. Trump's demand for $5.7 billion for a southern border wall and would instead pay for other ideas aimed at protecting the border.

Details of Democrats' border security plan and its cost remained a work in progress. Party leaders said it would include money for scanning devices and other technological tools for improving security at ports of entry and along the boundary, plus funds for more border agents and immigration judges.

"If his $5.7 billion is about border security, then we see ourselves fulfilling that request, only doing it with what I like to call using a smart wall," said No. 3 House Democratic leader Jim Clyburn, D-South Carolina.

A CBS News poll finds 7 in 10 Americans don't think the issue of a border wall is worth a government shutdown, which they say is now having a negative impact on the country. But 65 percent of Republicans say President Trump should refuse a budget unless it includes wall funding, and 69 percent of Democrats think congressional Democrats should keep refusing to fund it.

The Senate GOP bill would temporarily shield from deportation 700,000 "Dreamers," protections Trump has tried terminating. He's also offered temporary protections for people who fled violence or natural disasters in several countries — another program the president has curtailed.

With Democrats eager to show they're trying to end the impasse, the House used mostly party-line votes Wednesday to approve one measure reopening government agencies through February. By a similar tally, the chamber voted to finance most shuttered agencies through September.

Growing numbers of House Democrats say the party should show where it stands on border security.

"Right now it's a vacuum and the president is offering fake plans to stop drug smuggling," said Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon.