WASHINGTON (CN) – With the partial government shutdown in its 20th day, the House of Representatives on Thursday passed two bills that would reopen several shuttered government agencies, as a potential long-shot deal to reopen the government crumbled in the Senate.
After a contentious meeting with congressional leadership at the White House on Wednesday ended with President Donald Trump leaving the room early, an agreement to reopen the government appears unlikely as Trump stands by his demand for $5 billion in border wall funding Democrats insist he will never see.
With neither side budging on their positions, a group of senators has been working to push a resolution to end the shutdown that would trade wall money for immigration reform measures, including giving protections to people who are in the United States illegally after being brought to the country as children. But the lawmakers who had been talking over the agreement with the administration appeared defeated Thursday when discussing the idea’s prospects.
“I wish I had good news to report. I’ve got nothing for you,” Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, told reporters Thursday.
Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the newly minted chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee who has been leading the compromise effort, tweeted Thursday there is “no end in sight” to the shutdown. He later told reporters he sees no “way forward” on the compromise deal, according to the Washington Post.
Senator Susan Collins of Maine, another one of the Republican senators working on the effort, was also less than optimistic about the plan, saying each side of the ongoing fight has been unwilling to bend even slightly towards the other’s position.
“It’s very difficult when we’re dealing with people who do not want to budge at all in their positions, and that’s the president and Speaker Pelosi and they’re each very dug in on their position and that’s made this very difficult to resolve,” Collins told reporters Thursday.
The House, meanwhile, continued its plan to pass piece-by-piece a group of funding bills that would reopen the government. After approving a bill that would provide money for the Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service on Wednesday, lawmakers on Thursday voted 244-180 to pass a measure funding the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development.
The House also voted 243-183 to pass a measure giving money to the Departments of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.
The White House has vowed to veto each of the bills without wall funding and the Senate is unlikely to take up the measures.
Last week, the House passed two bills that would also reopen the government, funding the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 8 and the remaining agencies through Sept. 30. Those bills also do not include money for the border wall and the White House has threatened to veto them as well.
The ongoing shutdown is poised to become the longest in the country’s history. If the government does not reopen by Saturday, it will overtake the 21-day shutdown that gripped Washington from the beginning of December 1995 to the beginning of January 1996 as the longest in history.