UPDATE: Republican, Democratic measures to end shutdown fail in Senate
UPDATE: Senator Lamar Alexander voted twice to reopen the government.
“I voted twice today to open the government because it should never have been shut down," Sen. Alexander said. "It is always wrong for either side to use shutting down the government as a bargaining chip in budget negotiations – it should be as off-limits as chemical weapons are to warfare."
Senator Marsha Blackburn sided with the president and voted to secure the border and end the shutdown.
“President Trump and Leader McConnell are to be commended for putting forth legislation that secures the border and re-opens the closed portions of the government," Sen. Blackburn said. "I voted to support the President’s plan to build the wall, increase border security and open the closed portions of our government. The Democrats’ stubborn refusal to negotiate in good faith throughout this process has been deeply regrettable. The Senate is doing their job and it is time for the House to do theirs. ”
U.S. Senator David Perdue of Georgia voted for President Trump’s compromise proposal to fully reopen the government and fund both border security and disaster relief for Georgia.
“Many of us fought to keep the Senate in session last August to avoid this funding situation in the first place," Sen. Perdue said. "President Trump has tried to reopen negotiations with a reasonable proposal that not only fully funds the federal government, but also addresses critical border security and disaster relief. It is unacceptable that Senate Democrats continue to reject every opportunity to compromise in good faith. In the real world, both sides have to negotiate to find a solution. It’s time to work together to tackle these national priorities.”
PREVIOUS STORY: WASHINGTON — Six Republican senators crossed the aisle on Thursday to vote for a Democratic measure to end the 34-day government shutdown, but the proposal still failed in the Senate.
The Democratic measure, which would have reopened federal agencies until Feb. 8 but provided no funding for a border wall, was defeated in a 52-44 vote. Moments earlier, the Senate failed to advance a Republican spending measure proposed by President Donald Trump that would have provided $5.7 billion for his border wall in exchange for temporary protections for so-called Dreamers brought illegally to the country as children.
The GOP proposal needed support from some Democrats to get the 60 votes required for passage, but fell short, 50-47. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., appears to have originally read the vote total incorrectly as 51-47.
Before voting got underway, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, traded barbs in speeches on the Senate floor.
After Cruz spoke about first responders impacted by the partial government shutdown, Bennet, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, gave a fiery rebuttal in which he excoriated Cruz for his role in the 2013 government shutdown that hurt Bennet's home state when it was reeling from a series of floods.
"I seldom rise on this floor to contradict someone on the other side. I've worked very hard over the years to work with the other side in a bipartisan way ... but these crocodile tears that the senator from Texas is crying for first responders are too hard for me to take," Bennet said.
In 2013, "people were killed, people's houses were destroyed. Their small businesses were ruined. Forever," Bennet said. "And because of the senator from Texas, this government was shut down for politics."
Cruz then criticized Bennet for raising his voice.
"Ok, we get it, they hate Donald Trump. If anyone had missed that point, that they really really really don't like this man, their yelling and screaming and bellowing has made that abundantly clear. But just because you hate somebody doesn't mean you should shut the government down," Cruz said.
If all Republicans had voted in favor of Trump's bill, seven Democrats would have had to defect in order for it to advance, which was highly unlikely. Meanwhile, if all Democrats had voted in favor of their measure, 13 Republicans would have needed to back it for it to move on to a final vote.
Meanwhile, House Democrats said Wednesday that they’ve been readying a funding counter-offer to Trump and congressional Republicans that would "meet or exceed" $5.7 billion for border security, but provide no money for a physical wall, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., told reporters.
Thompson told reporters that the Democrats' proposal will offer "no new structures. The only thing we’re talking about is existing structures. Some of them need repairing."
The money could be used for "technology, manpower, fortifying ports of entry along with the judges and other things," he added.