For the second Time in two weeks, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has blocked a House-passed package to reopen the federal government.
Democratic Sens. Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Ben Cardin (Md.) asked for consent to take up a package of bills that would reopen the federal government.
One bill would fund the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 8, while the other would fund the rest of the impacted departments and agencies through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. But McConnell blocked the two bills, saying the Senate wouldn’t “participate in something that the president doesn’t support.
McConnell for weeks has said he would not bring legislation to the floor on the shutdown unless there was a deal between President Trump and Democrats on border security, the issue that has triggered the shutdown. McConnell has described other votes as “show votes.”
“The solution to this is a negotiation between the one person in the country who can sign something into law, the president of the United States, and our Democratic colleagues,” McConnell said Tuesday.
Trump is demanding more than $5 billion for his proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border wall in order to reopen the government, which has been shut down since Dec. 22.
Democratic leadership has pointed to $1.3 billion as their cap and argued that it must go to fencing.
House Democrats passed their package to fully reopen the government earlier this month and have begun passing individual appropriations bills as they try to ratchet up pressure on Republicans to break with the president and support the legislation. But those bills are expected to be blocked by the GOP-led Senate.
But Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) urged McConnell to get involved in the talks on Tuesday, touting his previous role as a deal-maker who could resolve sticky political stalemates.
“There’s only one person who can help America break through this gridlock: Leader McConnell. For the past month Leader McConnell has been content to hide behind the president, essentially giving him a veto over what comes to the floor of the Senate,” Schumer said.
He added that if McConnell brought up the House bills to fully reopen the government he believed they would receive a “significant,” “veto-proof” majority. But McConnell has said he won’t do it.