The shutdown today: McConnell plan is a nonstarter with Dems

The shutdown today: McConnell presses ahead with a plan that needs 60 votes and is a nonstarter with Democrats

What's up with the partial government shutdown on Day 33:


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pressing ahead with a plan to reopen the government and finance the wall. As drafted, the bill is a nonstarter with Democrats.

At the same time, McConnell is also setting up a vote for a bill passed by the Democratic-controlled House that would reopen the government temporarily — without wall funding — to give negotiators more time to reach a longer-lasting agreement.

Millions of poor Americans who depend on food and rental assistance are becoming increasingly worried about the future. Those dependent on the aid are watching closely under a cloud of stress and anxiety.

The Agriculture Department has announced it will reopen Farm Service Agency offices nationwide to process loans and trade aid payments for farmers and ranchers. Roughly 9,700 federal workers have been called back to work to staff the offices.

The partial shutdown has yet to hit the housing market, although Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, said it could hurt sales in upcoming months by 1 percent.



Doris Cochran, a disabled mother of two young boys who relies on food stamps: "I just don't know what's going to happen, and that's what scares me the most."



Votes are set in the Senate for Thursday on the two competing proposals to end the government shutdown, one favored by Republicans and one favored by Democrats. Neither appears likely to pass.



Nine of the 15 Cabinet-level departments have not been funded, including Agriculture , Homeland Security, State, Transportation, Interior and Justice. Some iconic National Park facilities are shuttered as are the Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo in Washington. Nearly everyone at NASA is being told to stay home.

The shutdown had threatened to disrupt plans for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day service at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church, where the civil rights leader was co-pastor with his father from 1960 until his assassination in 1968. The site is run by the National Park Service and had been closed. But a grant from Delta Air Lines is keeping the church and associated sites, including the home where King was born, open through Feb. 3.



Employees of the Transportation Security Administration are among the estimated 460,000 federal employees who have been working without pay. The agency, which has been experiencing far higher than usual unscheduled absences during the shutdown, said Monday that the percentage of its airport screeners missing work hit 10 percent on Sunday — up from 3.1 percent on the comparable Sunday a year ago.

Even so, the agency said it screened 1.78 million passengers Sunday, and only 6.9 percent had to wait 15 minutes or longer to get through security.


For AP's complete coverage of the U.S. government shutdown: