The U.S. Senate shifted slightly closer on Tuesday to resolving a month-long partial government shutdown, but there was no sign of relief anytime soon for 800,000 federal workers who are furloughed or working without pay, Reuters reports.
The chamber will vote Thursday on rival proposals by President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats to end the shutdown. The votes will come one day before hundreds of thousands of federal employees will miss their second paycheck Friday, Wall Street Journal adds.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell laid the groundwork for the vote on a Democratic proposal to fund the government for three weeks, without attaching the $5.7 billion in U.S.-Mexico border wall funding demanded by Trump.
The President has opposed similar legislation in the House of Representatives, and McConnell previously said he would not consider a funding bill that Trump would refuse to sign.
The Senate leader said he would also bring up for a Thursday vote a proposal by Trump to end the shutdown that includes border wall funding and relief for “Dreamers,” people brought illegally to the United States as children. The plan was unlikely to pass in the Senate and had even less chance in the Democratic-led House of Representatives.
Democrats have said they would not trade a temporary restoration of the immigrants’ protections from deportation in return for a permanent border wall they view as ineffective. In 2017, Trump moved to end the Dreamers’ protections, triggering a court battle.
But the Senate action could set the stage for the type of bipartisan negotiating that will be necessary to end a shutdown that began on December 22. Americans have largely blamed Trump for the shutdown, now the longest in U.S. history.
A Trump administration official said on Tuesday the President still intended to deliver his State of the Union speech on January 29, even though House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top U.S. Democrat, had recommended he delay it because of the shutdown.