THE SENATE is set to vote Thursday on two bills to reopen the federal government. It will be the chamber’s first action since the partial shutdown started more than a month ago, and we hope it means there will soon be an end to the pointless and costly crippling of the federal government. Realistically, though, neither the proposal by President Trump nor that of the Democrats appears likely to get the 60 votes needed to advance. That will mean even more uncertainty and harm for the 800,000 government workers caught up in the standoff.
Workers in nine departments and dozens of agencies, about a third of the government, have been affected by the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, which will have lasted 33 days as of Thursday. While the Trump administration has tried to ease the impact of the closure on the public by using creative interpretations of work rules to avoid the interruption of popular government programs, it has shown scant interest in softening the hardship for people who do those vital federal jobs. A case in point is its refusal to allow states to offer unemployment benefits to federal workers who are required to work without pay during the shutdown.