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Senate Leaders Agree on Possible Path to Reopening Government

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer speak in Washington, D.C., October 25, 2017. (Aaron P. Bernstein/REUTERS)

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and minority leader Chuck Schumer have agreed to a deal that could end the partial government shutdown, which entered its 32nd day Tuesday.

Under the deal, the Senate will vote Thursday on two bills intended to end the shutdown. One bill includes President Trump’s request for $5.7 billion to construct a wall at the southern border, and one would fund the government entities affected by the shutdown through February 8, kicking the fight down the road until then.

“People are saying isn’t there a way out of this mess, isn’t there a way to relieve the burden on the 800,000 federal workers not getting paid, isn’t there a way to get government services open first and debate what we should do for border security later?” Schumer said in announcing the deal. “Well, now there’s a way.”

About 800,000 federal workers are currently missing their paychecks as a result of the shutdown, which has broken the record for the longest in U.S. history.

Earlier Tuesday, Schumer panned the president’s weekend proposal to end the shutdown, which included restrictions on the ability of immigrants to claim asylum.

“It was not a good-faith proposal. It was not intended to end the shutdown,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “No one can call this new effort a compromise. The president’s proposal is just wrapping paper on the same partisan package and hostage tactics.”

“Do Democrats really want to throw federal workers, and all Americans, under the bus — just to keep their political fight going with the president?” McConnell asked.

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