Updated on January 24 at 10:30 a.m. ET
Federal employees on the verge of missing their second consecutive paycheck should not get their hopes up about the pair of dueling votes to reopen the government that will take place in the Senate on Thursday.
Both proposals—one representing President Donald Trump’s proposed trade of $5.7 billion in border-wall funding for temporary protections for some undocumented immigrants, and another that would simply end the shutdown—are expected to fall short on the floor.
But the failure of one is more certain than the failure of the other: While Republican senators have rallied behind the president’s plan, they have not ruled out also voting for the rival proposal, a measure, backed by Democrats, that would reopen shuttered federal agencies for two weeks while the parties negotiate a broader agreement on border security. And thanks to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s refusal to allow Trump to deliver his State of the Union address next week if the government is closed, Republicans might have an added incentive to seek at least a temporary break in the impasse.
After the president wrote to Pelosi on Wednesday insisting that the annual speech go forward “on location” in the House chamber, the speaker swiftly replied that the House would not pass the required resolution allowing that to happen. By late afternoon, a frustrated Trump conceded Pelosi had “canceled” his Capitol address, and suggested he would look at an “alternative” location to hold it. “I don’t believe it’s ever happened before, and it’s always good to be part of history, but this is a very negative part of history,” the president lamented. Late Wednesday night, however, Trump relented. “This is her prerogative,” he said in a tweet, referring to Pelosi. “I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over.”