Senate blocks two dueling bills to reopen government, as Trump shutdown continues with no end in sight

The longest government shutdown in American history drags on.

Government gridlock Thursday left hundreds of thousands of federal workers in continued unpaid limbo as the Senate predictably failed to pass either of two dueling bills that could have ended the crisis.

A Republican measure that would have reopened all shuttered departments and earmarked $5.7 billion for President Trump’s long-promised border wall couldn’t get the 60 votes it needed to pass, as Democrats stayed almost unanimously resolute against the project they deem ineffective and immoral.

Fifty-one senators voted for the Trump-approved bill while 47 voted against it Thursday afternoon, as the shutdown prepared to roll into its 35th day.

Two Republicans — Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Tom Cotton of Arkansas — broke ranks and voted no.

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin became the sole Democrat to vote in favor of the measure, which offered up some temporary deportation protections for immigrants in exchange for cash for the wall.

A separate Democratic measure to reopen the government on a temporary basis also failed after Dems were unable to court enough GOP support to break the 60-vote threshold.

Fifty-two senators voted yes and 44 voted no on the package, which would fund all closed departments and agencies on current levels through Feb. 8 — a move meant to give Congress more time to discuss disagreements on border security without holding the livelihoods of 800,000 furloughed workers hostage.

Six Republican senators backed the Democratic legislation, including Trump-skeptical freshman Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah). Their renegade action was a rebuke for the President, who had boasted of his party’s unity on the wall issue in recent days.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) met privately with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) after the unsuccessful votes, but the sit-down did not materialize in a breakthrough, a source briefed on the matter told the Daily News.

Trump, on the other hand, appeared to budge a bit, as he said he would be willing to approve a measure to reopen the government temporarily — but only if Democrats agree to include “a large” taxpayer-funded “down payment on the wall.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi didn’t spend much time considering his offer.

“That would not be a reasonable agreement,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) said. “I don’t think he knows what he wants.”

McConnell has refused to support any spending measures that Trump won’t commit to signing, drawing ire from Democrats who say he’s acting like a coward.

Furloughed federal workers on Friday will be deprived of another round of paychecks — the second missed wage period since the shutdown began Dec. 22.

Everything from FBI counterintelligence investigations to national parks, airport security and food stamps are being hampered by the shutdown.

Workers struggling to make ends meet are lining up outside food banks and others are dipping into their savings to make rent and mortgage payments.

But Wilbur Ross, Trump’s ultra-wealthy commerce secretary, said he couldn’t comprehend why the distressed workers chose to turn to charity and part-time gig work to survive when they had other options at hand.

“I know they are and I don’t really quite understand why,” Ross said on CNBC when asked to comment on reports that federal employees are going to homeless shelters to eat.

Ross, who’s worth $700 million, suggested workers instead take out bank loans by using their back pay statements as collateral — without mentioning how much interest the payments would accrue or how it would affect workers’ debt.

Pelosi ripped Ross’s tone-deaf remarks as out of touch with everyday Americans.

“Is this the ‘Let them eat cake’ kind of attitude?” the speaker said, referencing Queen Marie Antoinette’s infamous comment to famished French peasants in the 18th century.

Keith Polite, a contract security guard at the federally-run National Museum of the American Indian in downtown Manhattan, has not been paid since the shutdown began. And contrary to government employees, he won’t receive any back pay once the shutdown finally ends.

Polite said he’s already used up all his vacation and sick days for the year to squeeze out some cash and he’s now dipping into his savings to stay afloat.

“I don’t know how I will be able to pay my rent this month,” Polite, 55, of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, told The News. “It’s very frustrating because this is not our fault, but I have to hold up, I have to stay optimistic. I’m just trying to live a normal life even though my wallet keeps getting smaller and smaller and smaller.”

Democrats are outraged that Republicans continue to use workers like Polite as political bargaining chips while ceding power to Trump over a border barrier he used to promise Mexico would pay for.

“A vote for the President’s plan is an endorsement of government by extortion,” Schumer said from the Senate floor ahead of the votes. “If we let him do it today, he’ll do it tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.”

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