By Robert A. Vella
Two competing bills to end the government shutdown both failed today to reach the 60-vote threshold necessary to overcome procedural filibusters.
The Republican bill which would provide the funding demanded by President Trump for his border wall project, and which would impose new restrictions on asylum seekers, garnered 50 yay votes and 47 nays. One Democratic senator joined the ranks of supporting Republicans.
The more straightforward Democratic bill which would reopen the government without any funding for the border wall achieved 52 yays and 44 nay votes. Six Republican senators defected from Trump and supported this bill.
Although the failure of these bills was expected, it sent a strong message to the president that support within his own party to continue the shutdown over his border wall demand is slipping. Also, it indicates that resolving this manufactured crisis is becoming a greater concern for Congress and that the pressure on legislators to negotiate a solution is mounting.