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By Leigh Ann Caldwell and Frank Thorp V

WASHINGTON — A last-ditch effort by a handful of Senate Republicans to reopen the government abruptly ended just 24 hours after it began in yet another sign that the government shutdown is nowhere near ending. It’s rapid demise also showed there is little goodwill remaining between Democrats, Republicans and the president.

An exasperated Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who launched the effort Wednesday morning with fellow Republicans frustrated by an ongoing impasse, told reporters, “I’m done.”

“I don’t know who to talk to, and I don’t know what else to do,” Graham added.

The end of the effort happened as fast as it began. Graham organized a group of four other Republican senators, all of whom have expressed concern about the shutdown — Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Thom Tillis of North Carolina — to come up with a proposal that would give President Donald Trump what he wants for border security while adding provisions that the Democrats want.

Members involved in the discussions knew that the idea was a long shot but still they tried to fill a void in negotiations. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had taken a backseat, repeatedly saying that it is up to Democrats and Trump to reach an agreement.

“We have a role here as lawmakers, and you have a group of individuals that are coming together and seeing if we can make something happen,” Murkowski told reporters Thursday morning.

The group pitched their ideas to McConnell in the morning. They proposed re-opening the government for a short period of time to give time for broader discussions, according to one senator involved in the negotiations. The boarder discussion could encompass relief for Dreamers eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or assistance for 400,000 immigrants who from Haiti and Central American who are set to lose their Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, this year, senators said.

Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence was on Capitol Hill, meeting with individual members, including Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., who also wants an immediate end to the shutdown. Gardner said he spoke to Pence about “ways to bring (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi back to the table.”

Pelosi didn’t outright dismiss the idea of adding DACA to the negotiations. She said Democrats are “absolutely” ready to discuss Dreamers, but memories of the last round of talks on border funding and a DACA deal have resurfaced.

“You saw what happened last time. Trump backed out,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

And Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, who was part of the bipartisan group negotiating the 2018 immigration deal, said the White House is a difficult negotiating partner.

“I spent six weeks doing that last winter. We got to a good result and the White House torpedoed it,” King said. “So the real question is ‘What’s the point?’”

Even Sen. Tillis noted that the president is the unknown factor in negotiations.

“We gotta know what the president wants,” he said.

Republicans were cautiously optimistic that the White House would be open to the idea. Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner attended the gathering in Graham’s office on Wednesday and one Republican senator told NBC that he was optimistic about a broader compromise after speaking with the president and his chief of staff Mick Mulvaney this week.

“They supported it then, which I think is a decent indication.” Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, said, referring to the president’s support of a $25 billion wall in exchange for legal status for DACA recipients.

But then the White House gave signals that it would not entertain the idea.

“If the Supreme Court rules against the President Obama decision, which he knew would not hold up, we will have a deal with the dreamers,” Trump said while visiting the southern border in Texas on Thursday.

The negotiations ended Thursday afternoon, one day after they began.

“It’s very difficult when we’re dealing with people who do not want to budge at all in their positions, and that’s the president and Speaker Pelosi,” Collins said. “They are each very dug in on their positions and that’s made this very difficult to resolve.”

And now Graham, who was opposed to Trump declaring a national emergency, released a statement saying that Trump should declare a national emergency.

“It is time for President Trump to use emergency powers to fund the construction of a border wall/barrier,” Graham wrote in a statement.

Garrett Haake contributed.



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No Deal Brexit would cause ‘VERY SIGNIFICANT’ damage to EU – Brussels warned

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A NO DEAL Brexit would “very significantly” harm the European Union, Barclays’ chairman said in a chilling warning to Brussels just hours before Theresa May issues her request to extend Article 50 for three months to the EU27.

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Midwest voters in Trump country face historic floods and call for climate action

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Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

 / Updated 

By Hans Nichols and Stefanie Cargill

La CROSSE, Wis. — In two states that flipped from Democratic to Republican in the 2016 presidential race, the devastating floods are focusing voter’s attention on climate change — and both parties’ response to it.

“My big concern is the environment,” said Amy Bouska, a retired actuary, at a town hall event for Rep. Amy Finkenauer, a freshman Democrat from eastern Iowa. “People know that the Canadians are clearing land to plant corn.”

“Whether they’re attributing it to climate change is another question, but people know things are changing,” added Bouska, who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

As midwestern states grapple with historic flooding that is devastating communities and threatening crop rotations and livestock, some voters are demanding action on what they see as the cause: climate change and more extreme weather patterns.

This year, as Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin begin their annual thaw, a flash of warm weather, combined with unusually high snowmelt, is making it difficult for the land to dispose of the winter’s water. And that’s causing pain in parts of the country that delivered the presidency to Donald Trump.

Cut rows of corn stand in a March mix of slush and mud, with water pooling just about anywhere that’s flat. Rivers and streams have crested and may rise yet again.

Farm groups say that it’s worse than in the past.

That dynamic allows environmental activists to make their case that climate change is to blame.

At another town hall, across the Mississippi River, in La Crosse, Wisconsin, voters told their congressman, Rep. Ron Kind, a Democrat, that the effect of climate change on the farming community was worse than many in Washington might think.

They also implored Kind to support the Green New Deal pushed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

Yet Kind declined to endorse it.

“The rollout of the Green New Deal didn’t go very well,” he said. “But the aspirational goal of recognizing the danger of climate change is something that we need to recognize and work toward.”

That answer left some of Kind’s constituents frustrated, and it may contribute to a primary challenge for the 22-year House veteran in 2020.

Later, along the swollen banks of the Mississippi, with sheets of ice gliding downstream to some of the areas hardest hit by the flooding, Bernie Sanders’ supporters protested outside a birthday party for Kind, demanding “Medicare for all” and more robust action to counter climate change.

Beth Hartung, a political activist and Sanders supporter, said that she wasn’t happy with Kind not committing to the Green New Deal.

“It’s not aspirational,” she said. “It’s doable. We need a bold leader.”

Mark Neumann, a retired pediatrician, said that Kind’s positions on climate change and his opposition to a single-payer health care system may lead him to challenge Kind next year in the Democratic primary.

“People are being smacked with climate change at a phenomenal rate,” Neumann said. “These are issues that go beyond our binary partisan divide.”

Neumann knows that he faces an uphill battle. Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District voted for Trump in 2016 by 2 percentage points after going for President Barack Obama in 2012.

But Kind’s deep ties to the community and centrist positions allowed him to withstand a surge of Trump support, winning in 2016 and cruising to re-election in 2018.

“We need a single payer, publicly funded health-care system,” Neumann said in an interview. “Everyone in and nobody out.”

Asked if a district that supported Trump would elect a Democrat who supported the Green New Deal and a single-payer system, he would only say “it’s possible.”

“That’s what we’ll find out,” he said.

CORRECTION: (March 19, 2019, 10:14 p.m. ET): An earlier version of this article misstated the first name of a political activist and Bernie Sanders supporter. She is Beth Hartung, not Amy.

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Theresa May Brexit statement: What is so WRONG with the Brexit deal? The key points

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PRIME MINISTER Theresa May told the public she is “on their side” last night, pointing blame at MPs for the Brexit deadlock. So why are MPs so against her deal?

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