Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. walks out of the Senate Chamber following two failed votes on ending the partial government shutdown on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The shutdown today: Senate rejects plans to end shutdown

January 24, 2019 - 11:51 pm

What's up with the partial government shutdown on Day 35:


The Senate rejected competing Democratic and Republican plans for ending the partial government shutdown on Thursday, leaving President Donald Trump and Congress with no obvious formula for halting the longest-ever closure of federal agencies and the economic damage it is inflicting.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, one of the richest people in President Donald Trump's Cabinet, questioned Thursday why furloughed federal workers were using food banks instead of taking out loans to get through the month-long partial government shutdown.

Unions that represent air traffic controllers, flight attendants and pilots are growing concerned about safety. Airline executives say they are worried that long airport lines could scare off passengers. The economic damage, while small, is starting to show up in their financial reports.

Tax season is almost here and this one could be tricky. It's the first year that taxpayers will be filing under the massive tax law overhaul pushed through by the Trump administration. And a month-long partial shutdown of the federal government threatens to complicate things further for some.

From power restaurants in Washington and a belt-buckle maker in Colorado to a brewery in California, businesses that count heavily on federal employees as customers are feeling the punishing effects of the government shutdown.



"One way or another we've got to get out of this. This is no win for anybody," said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.

"We have a growing concern for the safety and security of our members, our airlines, and the traveling public due to the government shutdown," said the presidents of unions representing air traffic controllers, pilots and flight attendants.



Some 800,000 federal workers are set to go without their paycheck for the second time in a row on Friday, marking nearly one month since their last payday.



Nine of the 15 Cabinet-level departments have not been funded, including Agriculture , Homeland Security, State, Transportation, Interior and Justice. Some iconic National Park facilities are shuttered as are the Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo in Washington. Nearly everyone at NASA is being told to stay home.



Employees of the Transportation Security Administration are among the estimated 460,000 federal employees who have been working without pay. The agency, which has been experiencing higher-than-usual unscheduled absences during the shutdown, said Thursday that the percentage of its airport screeners missing work hit 7.5 percent on Wednesday — up from 3 percent on the comparable Wednesday a year ago.

Even so, the agency said it screened 1.76 million passengers and only 3.7 percent had to wait 15 minutes or longer to get through security.


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