Talks start as Senate rejects 2 plans for ending shutdown

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has voted down competing Democratic and Republican plans for ending the 34-day partial government shutdown on Thursday. But the setbacks prompted a burst of bipartisan talks aimed at temporarily halting the longest-ever closure of federal agencies and the damage it’s inflicting around the country.

In the first serious exchange in weeks, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell quickly called Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to his office to explore solving the stalemate. Senators from both sides floated a plan to reopen agencies for three weeks and pay hundreds of thousands of federal workers while bargainers hunt for a deal.

At the White House, President Donald Trump told reporters he’d support “a reasonable agreement.” He suggested he’d also want a “prorated down payment” for his long-sought border wall with Mexico.