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DC roundup: Senate votes on two bills to reopen government, Trump delays SOTU and more

The White House is seen after sunset in Washington, DC on January 23, 2019.
The White House is seen after sunset in Washington, DC on January 23, 2019.

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The Senate is taking up votes on two competing bills to reopen the government. But both appear unlikely to clear the chamber.

Either measure would reopen federal agencies and pay 800,000 federal workers who are days from missing yet another paycheck. Republicans would couple ending the 34-day shutdown with $5.7 billion for President Donald Trump's border wall and revamping immigration laws. Democrats would reopen agency doors for three weeks while bargainers seek a budget accord.

Twin defeats might spur the two sides into a more serious effort to strike a compromise. Almost every proposal needs 60 votes to advance in the Senate, which is under 53-47 Republican control.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump said he is postponing his State of the Union address until the partial government shutdown ends, yielding after a weeklong showdown with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Following a high-stakes game of dare and double-dare, Trump conceded Wednesday night that "no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber." He said he was not looking for an alternate option after Pelosi served notice earlier in the day that he wouldn't be allowed to deliver the address to a joint session of Congress next week.

Pelosi had taken the step after Trump said he planned to show up in spite of Democratic objections to the speech taking place with large swaths of the government shut down.

With files from the Associated Press

With guest host Libby Denkmann


Laura Litvan, U.S. Senate and politics reporter for Bloomberg News who’s been following the vote; we’re reaching her at the Senate press gallery; she tweets @LauraLitvan

Noah Bierman, White House reporter for the Los Angeles Times; he’s been following the story