This comes from Politico, which reported late yesterday that Sen. Lindsey Graham got together with a collection of other Republican senators in an attempt to hash something out that would end the shutdown and put the government back to work. Essentially, the plan would kick the “Wall” discussion down the road:
Earlier on Thursday, GOP senators met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Pence to pitch their idea: First, the Senate Appropriations Committee will take up legislation meeting the president’s $5.7 billion border wall request. That bill would be open to amendment in the committee and then come to the floor; meanwhile most or all of the shuttered government would be reopened while the Senate begins a broad immigration debate aimed at passing a bipartisan bill.
Of course, this met two immediate obstacles: Trump, who said “I want a guaranteed wall,” and Nancy Pelosi, who said, “there will be no wall.” (It’s worth noting that no Democratic senators were invited to the meeting.) The fundamental opposition of those two parties makes any compromise immediately unworkable, and considering Trump’s stubborn adherence to the existence of his border wall, it makes sense that he outright rejected the idea when it was brought to him by Mike Pence and Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. If he went forward, any bill would likely be killed in a Democratic House, and he’d have shut the government down for nothing.
What’s really wild, though, is that Trump thinks he’s winning the PR battle:
While the congressional committees could still take up Trump’s border wall plan, the president opposes the idea of opening the government before serious wall negotiations have begun, the people said. He told Senate Republicans he believes he is winning the fight and will not sign any stopgap bills at this point.
As for Democrats, it seems as though years of being tricked by Republicans acting in bad faith has finally clued them in to the fact that if they concede ground now, they will end up losing, and any promise of “compromise” will vanish like a mirage. Additionally, the fact that the wall is such a massive symbol of Trump himself, and will represent profound success or failure depending on whether it’s ever built, renders them increasingly unlikely to give Trump even a qualified victory.
All of which leaves Republican senators despondent:
“I think we’re stuck. I just don’t see a pathway forward. I don’t see a way forward,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who had been leading the effort. “I have never been more depressed about moving forward than I am right now. I just don’t see a pathway forward.”
“It’s run into some difficulties,” conceded Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), another Republican trying to end the stalemate. “It’s very difficult when we’re dealing with people who do not want to budge at all in their positions and that’s the president and Speaker Pelosi. They’re each very dug in on their position and that’s made this very difficult to resolve.”
On Saturday, the current shutdown will become the longest in modern American history.