Republicans Block Another Attempt by Democrats to Reopen Government

Tuesday, January 15, 2019
By Paul Martin

Democrats attempted to pass a stopgap funding bill for the government already in December 2018, but the bill was rejected by the White House because it didn’t contain the $5.7 billion in funding for Trump’s plans to build a wall on the US-Mexico border.

The Republican majority in the US Senate has blocked two package bills earlier adopted by the House of Representatives that would have allowed for the resumption of operations of most US departments and agencies through 30 September 2019. One of the bills included a stopgap budget for the Department of Homeland Security, allowing it to function until 8 February 2019.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the bills are something that “doesn’t lead to an outcome”. He has previously repeatedly warned that he would not allow the bills, which are aimed at ending the record long government shutdown, to pass unless they contain funding for the construction of a border wall with Mexico.

“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”, he said on 15 January.

That same day, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that the Democrats had turned down the latest invitation to meet with the president in order to negotiate a deal on ending the shutdown. Trump himself has repeatedly slammed Democratic leaders over “having fun” outside of Washington and continuing to receive their pay, while ordinary US government employees are either on furlough or working without pay.

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