The Senate on Friday voted 48 to 47, with Mr. Pence breaking a tie, to begin debate on that legislation. But leaders of both parties agreed that the vote was largely meaningless and that the House bill had no chance of passing the Senate, because Republicans could not get help from Democrats to muster the 60 votes required under Senate rules. That sent White House and congressional officials back to the negotiating table.
With Mr. Trump publicly sticking to his demand of $5 billion for a wall — or, as he said on Twitter on Friday, “artistically designed steel slats” — there were a number of potential compromises that would have forced him to drop it, by perhaps leaving out spending on a wall while instead beefing up spending on other security measures at the border, according to people with knowledge of the talks.
Among the options discussed behind closed doors were proposals that would allocate anywhere from $1.6 billion to $2.5 billion to border security, none of which could be spent on a wall. But it was not clear that conservatives in the House, who insisted on Thursday on adding the $5.7 billion for the barrier the president has demanded, would back that solution.
Lawmakers were exasperated and eager to head home. Some held out hope that Democrats would meet the White House halfway on Mr. Trump’s $5 billion demand. Democrats in the Senate have offered, at various points, $1.3 billion or $1.6 billion for border security, including fencing — but not a wall.
“This has been the interesting challenge,” Senator James Lankford, Republican of Oklahoma, told CNN on Saturday morning. He added, “I think there’s a general agreement now that we need to do border security; now it’s figuring out the amount.”
The government will incur significant costs in an extended shutdown, as furloughed employees are eventually repaid for time not worked, and officials spend unproductive time dealing with the closing. And the effects will spread over time.
The Smithsonian Institution said it had enough money stored away that its museums, as well as the National Zoo in Washington, could remain open through Jan. 1. Even agencies that remained open, though, said they may need to curb their operations. The National Weather Service office in Tallahassee, Fla., for example, said that it would still issue its usual predictions and alerts, but that it would limit social media posts “to subjects that are directly related to forecasts and warnings.”
In Windsor Locks, Conn., a Transportation Security Administration agent stacked plastic bins at Bradley International Airport late Friday. The agent, Daniel Defosse, said he wasn’t too upset that he would be working without pay. “It’s a job. It comes with the territory, honestly,” he said. Still, he added, “it’s not going to be fun, but we’ve got to do it.”