No end to U.S shutdown as opposing bills to reopen govt fail in Senate

Two bills to end the U.S government have been rejected by the Senate, leaving no end in sight to the record-breaking closure of federal agencies over President Donald Trump's controversial plan to build a border wall along the U.S-Mexico border.

Trump is demanding USD 5.7 billion of congressional funding to build the wall, but the Democrats have refused.

Some 800,000 federal employees have been going unpaid since December 22 due to the shutdown.

In back-to-back votes on Thursday, the Senate first blocked Trump's proposal to add USD 5.7 billion for his border wall to legislation to resume funding for the government, then turned back a Democratic measure that omitted the wall.

Neither side was able to garner the 60 votes needed to advance its bill.

A Republican-backed measure to fund Trump's border wall failed in a 50-47 vote.

Three senators Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republicans Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Mike Lee of Utah broke with their parties.

A plan supported by Democrats fared better, but still fell short in a 52-44 vote. Six Republican senators supported it.

Senate leaders from both parties later briefly discussed a new proposal to reopen federal agencies for three weeks.

Trump was noncommittal, telling reporters at the White House that he would only sign a bill if it included a "down payment" on a border barrier.

"One of the ideas suggested is they open it, they pay sort of a pro-rated down payment for the wall, which I think people would agree that you need the wall," Trump told reporters at the White House.

(Agencies)