Senate Democrats Boost Pressure on Trump, Republicans to End Shutdown

Senate Democrats Boost Pressure on Trump, Republicans to End Shutdown

America's Voice Admin
January 8, 2019

Senate Democrats Boost Pressure on Trump, Republicans to End Shutdown

The entrance to the Smithsonian's National Gallery of Art is padlocked as a partial government shutdown continues, in Washington, U.S., Jan. 7, 2019.
The entrance to the Smithsonian's National Gallery of Art is padlocked as a partial government shutdown continues, in Washington, U.S., Jan. 7, 2019.

CAPITOL HILL —

As President Donald Trump prepares to pressure Democrats on border wall funding with a nationally televised address Tuesday night, Senate Democrats are pushing back by pledging a blockade of legislation until the Republican-controlled chamber votes on a spending bill to reopen shuttered U.S. government agencies.

Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar urged her colleagues in a tweet Tuesday to focus efforts on ending the shutdown.

Furloughed federal worker Meghan Powell, holding sign on left, demonstrates with others against the partial government shutdown in view of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Jan. 8, 2019.
Furloughed federal worker Meghan Powell, holding sign on left, demonstrates with others against the partial government shutdown in view of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Jan. 8, 2019.

Klobuchar joined a chorus of Senate Democrats pressuring Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to allow votes on bills the Democratically-led House of Representatives passed last week to fund government agencies that saw their spending authority expire in December.

Virginia Democrat Mark Warner echoed the sentiment on Twitter.

With rare exception, Senate rules mandate three-fifths backing to advance any bill that fails to garner unanimous support. Republicans have a 53-47 majority in the chamber, well short of 60 votes that would be required to advance legislation on their own.

McConnell, who has broad authority to determine which bills come to the floor for a vote, repeatedly has stated that he will not allow the Senate to consider any funding bill Trump opposes.

FILE - U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is surrounded by reporters as he returns from meeting with President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders at the White House, to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Jan. 2, 2019.
FILE – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is surrounded by reporters as he returns from meeting with President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders at the White House, to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Jan. 2, 2019.

"Democrats will have to get serious about border security so that a government funding agreement can pass the House, earn 60 votes in the Senate, and receive a presidential signature. All three of these things are needed," the majority leader tweeted last week.

Trump is demanding billions of taxpayer dollars for wall construction along the U.S.-Mexico border. The House-passed spending bills would extend overall border security operations but set aside no money for a wall.

If Senate Democrats follow through on their legislative blockade pledge, the first casualty would be a bill covering security assistance for Israel, U.S.-Jordanian defense cooperation, and efforts to aid and protect Syrian civilians.

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