US Senate to vote on Trump’s plan to reopen government
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US Senate to vote on Trump’s plan to reopen government

Leaders in the US Senate announced on Tuesday that they had struck an agreement to hold two votes on January 24 in order to end the shutdown stalemate on Capitol Hill. The first vote will be on Trump's proposals to reopen the federal government and providing $5.7 billion in funding for the border wall and the second on extending legal protections to some immigrants for a span of three years. Both of the proposals will require 60 votes to advance. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell expressed hope that the Thursday vote on legislation to fund Trump's border wall on the US-Mexico border would reopen shuttered parts of the government. "The opportunity to end all this is staring us right in the face. That's why we'll vote on this legislation on the Senate floor this week. All that needs to happen is for our Democratic colleagues to agree that it's time to put the country ahead of politics, take yes for an answer and vote to put this standoff behind us," McConnell said.  McConnell, however, denounced as "bold, comprehensive offer" the proposal outlined by the US president for $5.7 billion in wall funding in exchange for temporary protections for some immigrants. In a televised speech on Saturday, Trump called on lawmakers to approve $5.7 billion in funding for a wall along the southern border with Mexico in exchange for temporary protections for young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children -- known as Dreamers -- and individuals from some Central American and African nations. Democratic lawmakers have so far rejected the offer and have remained firm in refusing to agree to any new money for the border wall. They have dismissed the proposal as “hostage taking” and a “non-starter.” “Democrats were hopeful that the President was finally willing to re-open government and proceed with a much-need discussion to protect the border. Unfortunately, initial reports make clear that his proposal is a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total, do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people’s lives,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement. "It is unlikely that any one of these provisions alone would pass the House, and taken together, they are a non-starter,” she added. Additionally, Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer reiterated his opposition on Tuesday, calling the Trump’s immigration offer a "proposal that's going nowhere fast." Analysts see no guarantee that either bill could secure enough votes to pass and break the months-long stalemate that has closed roughly a quarter of the government. "POTUS proposal can't get 60 votes in Senate and was never designed to," said a Senate Democratic aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "But the White House knew that already." The partial government closure, currently in its 32nd day, has directly affected 0.5 percent of the US labor force but has started to indirectly hit the confidence of more than half of consumers, according to a survey by the University of Michigan. About 800,000 federal workers, from FBI agents to scientists and some food inspectors, are furloughed or working without pay while trying to meet their financial obligations. The affected federal employees will eventually get back pay but more than one million contractors for the government don't even have that to hope for. The longest shutdown in US history is also beginning to have a political price. A majority of Americans hold Trump and his fellow Republicans in Congress responsible, according to several polls.

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