Senate shoots down dueling proposals to reopen government » A divided Senate swatted down competing proposals on Thursday to end the partial government shutdown.
A majority of the Senate voted for the GOP plan.
AUDIO: On this vote the yeas are 51. The nays are 47.
And the Democratic proposal got 52 votes, but neither won the three-fifths majority required to pass.
The Republican plan would have extended legal protections for young immigrants while funding a border wall and making big changes to asylum law. The Democratic plan would have reopened the government temporarily.
Amid the finger pointing, senate leaders met once again after the failed votes and discussed a bipartisan bill to temporarily end the shutdown. South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham says he’s spoken with the White House about the idea.
GRAHAM: Money for a barrier is required to get this deal done. It will not be a concrete wall.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the president would consider signing a short-term bill “only if it includes a down payment on the wall.”
And in the House, Democrats are working on a new a budget proposal that could allot $5.7 billion for border security, but not a wall. Lawmakers could unveil the plan as soon as today.
Shutdown impact growing at U.S. airports » Meantime, airports across the country are feeling the effects of the shutdown.
The TSA this week was reportedly forced to ask employees to volunteer to move from their home airports to other cities with insufficient staffing. And with employees missing another paycheck this week, the problem could get worse.
TSA employee Carolyn Bauer says she was prepared for a short-term pay gap, but…
BAUER: Now that we are missing two paychecks and then that new month is coming, it’s starting to hit home.
And air traffic controllers were on the ground at San Francisco and Oakland International airports this week handing out leaflets.
SERNA: We’re out here just educating the flying public of how the shutdown is affecting the national airspace system. We’re hoping that enough people will feel compelled reach their members of Congress and ask them to end the shutdown.
That’s Juan Serna with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.
He said staffing shortages in towers are worsening, and he’s hearing stories of an increasing number of air traffic controllers resigning.
Cohen postpones testimony to House Oversight Committee » The Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenaed President Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen on Thursday. That, just one day after Cohen backed out of planned testimony before the House Oversight Committee. His lawyer, Lanny Davis, said that was due to “ongoing threats against his family from President Trump” and his current personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.
Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings said he understood Cohen’s concerns.
CUMMINGS: We cannot allow anyone—no one to block witnesses and whistleblowers from coming to our committee.
But President Trump countered…
TRUMP: I would say he’s been threatened by the truth. He’s only been threatened by the truth.
House Democrats may also subpoena Cohen, who will report to federal prison March 6th to serve three years for evading taxes and lying to Congress.
Florida shooting suspect appears in court » The man accused of murdering five people inside a Florida bank Wednesday made his first appearance in court on Thursday.
Judge Anthony Ritenour told 21-year-old Zephen Xaver…
RITENOUR: Mr. Xaver, as I stated, you have five counts of felony capital murder. Based on it being a capital offense the court is going to hold you without bond.
Xaver allegedly walked into a SunTrust Bank branch in Sebring, Florida, and forced five women to the floor before killing them execution style.
Police found no indication that he intended to rob the bank and no apparent connections between him and the victims.
Investigators still don’t have a motive, but Xaver’s ex-girlfriend said he was always fascinated with violence. Alex Gerlach told WSBT…
GERLACH: The only thing I can ever remember is him talking about guns and wanting guns, and he wants to hurt people physically.
Gerlach said she believes Xaver has long had serious mental health issues that family members failed to address.
Lines drawn in Venezuela’s power struggle » As the crisis in Venezuela grows, the global community is taking sides down a familiar faultline.
President Trump on Wednesday said the US officially recognizes opposition leader Juan Guaido as the nation’s rightful president. And on Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on nations around the world to do the same.
POMPEO: The time for debate is done. The regime of former President Nicolas Maduro is illegitimate.
The US has officially requested an open meeting of the UN Security Council tomorrow to discuss the crisis.
Most democratic nations are also recognizing Guaido’s claim to Venezuela’s presidency. But China, Russia, Iran, Cuba, Syria, and Turkey declared support for Maduro’s government. What’s more, Venezuela’s top military commanders pledged their unwavering support for Maduro on Thursday.