PRESS SECRETARY: Dems leaving Trump ‘no choice’ on border

WASHINGTON — Democrats are leaving President Donald Trump “no choice” but to crack down hard on border security, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee- Sanders said on Tuesday, and the president will do “whatever it takes” to protect the American people.

“Democrats in Congress are leaving us no choice,” Sanders said during an appearance on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom,” referencing the president’s vow to close the southern border. “This is not the path the president wants to take. They’re leaving us no choice because they’re unwilling to fix the problem. They’re too busy playing politics.”

Sanders’ comments come one week after Trump threatened to shut down the border between the U.S. and Mexico after House Democrats refused to authorize funds needed to build the wall.

Mexico, Sanders said, must step up its efforts to stop the flow of illegal immigration into the U.S. or face the financial ramifications.

“That’s certainly a big part of this process, is Mexico stepping up and helping the United States do more by helping stop people from coming across our border by stopping them in Mexico,” Sanders said. “We need them to continue to do that so that we aren’t forced take drastic action like closing the ports of entry at our border because we simply have no choice.”

“The president is the one that is responsible for the last two years of economic growth, economic boom, and the number of jobs that we have in this country. We don’t want to see that hurt,” Sanders continued. “But at the same time, the president’s No. 1 responsibility is to protect American life.”

Despite pushback from the left, border patrol agents have come out in support of the president’s plan to shut down the border, claiming doing so will better help them gain better control of illegal immigration.

“If Mexico doesn’t immediately stop ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States [through] our Southern Border, I will be CLOSING the border, or large sections of the Border next week,” the president vowed last week on Twitter. “This would be so easy for Mexico to do, but they just take our money and “talk.” Besides, we lose so much money with them, especially when you add in drug trafficking etc.), that the Border closing would be a good thing!”

Democrats, angered by the president’s commitment to shutting down the U.S. border have called his threats “racist” and a “violation” of his presidential authority.

trumpandsarah

REPORT: House near OK of Dems’ bill blocking Trump emergency on wall

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats ignored a veto threat and prepared to ram legislation through the House Tuesday that would stymie President Donald Trump’s bid for billions of extra dollars for his border wall, escalating a clash over whether Trump was abusing his powers to advance his paramount campaign pledge.

The House’s certain vote to block Trump’s national emergency declaration would throw the political hot potato to the Republican-run Senate, where there were already enough GOP defections to edge it to the cusp of passage. Vice President Mike Pence used a private lunch with Republican senators at the Capitol to try keeping them aboard, citing a dangerous crisis at the border, but there were no signs that he’d succeeded.

“I personally couldn’t handicap the outcome at this point,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who’s planning a vote within the next three weeks.

Senate passage would force Trump’s first veto, which Congress would surely lack the votes to override. But the showdown was forcing Republicans to cast uncomfortable votes pitting their support for a president wildly popular with GOP voters against fears that his expansive use of emergency powers would invite future Democratic presidents to do likewise for their own pet policies.

Underscoring the issue’s political sensitivity, House Republican leaders worked to keep the number of GOP supporters below 53. That’s the number that would be needed to reach a two-thirds majority of 288 votes, assuming all Democrats vote “yes,” the margin required for a veto override.

“If they vote their conscience and the Constitution, we will” get Republican votes, said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. “If they vote party and politics, we won’t.”

The White House wrote to lawmakers formally threatening to veto the legislation. The letter said blocking the emergency declaration would “undermine the administration’s ability to respond effectively to the ongoing crisis at the Southern Border.”

Republicans said it was Democrats who were driven by politics and a desire to oppose Trump at every turn, and said Trump had the authority to declare an emergency to protect the country. They also defended the president’s claims of a security crisis along the boundary with Mexico, which he has said is ravaged by drug smugglers, human traffickers and immigrants trying to sneak into the U.S. illegally.

“We are at war on the Southern border with the drug cartels,” said Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas.

Trump has asserted that barriers would stop drugs from Mexico from entering the U.S. In fact, government figures show that 90 percent of drugs intercepted from Mexico are caught at ports of entry, not remote areas where barriers would be constructed.

Democrats said Trump’s push for the wall reflected a continuation of the anti-immigrant views that helped fuel his election.

“Since when do we call human beings in need a national emergency?” said Mexican-born Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, D-Ill. “Is he running out of insults for people like me?”

Democrats also said the crisis is a fiction manufactured by Trump to dance around Congress’ vote this month to provide less than $1.4 billion for barrier construction. That was well below the $5.7 billion Trump demanded as he futilely forced a record-setting 35-day federal shutdown.

“The president does not get to override Congress is a raucous temper tantrum over his inability to broker a deal” for more money with Congress, said Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, sponsor of the one-sentence measure blocking the declaration, called Trump’s move “constitutional vandalism.”

Trump used a 1976 law to declare a national emergency and ordered the shift of $3.6 billion from military construction projects to wall building. Citing other powers, he intends to shift another $3.1 billion from Defense Department anti-drug efforts and a fund that collects seized assets.

In the Senate, three Republicans have already said they will back Democrats’ drive to block the emergency declaration: Maine’s Susan Collins, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski and North Carolina’s Thom Tillis. Just one more GOP defection would provide enough votes to approve the Democratic measure, assuming all Democrats and their independent allies back it.

Republicans said senators asked Pence numerous questions about which projects Trump would be divert to pay for the wall, with Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., saying the discussion was “hearty.” Shelby, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, which controls spending, said his panel would quickly “backfill” money for military construction with other funds he did not identify.

“That issue won’t stay alive long,” Shelby told reporters.

Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the chief GOP vote counter, said there may be GOP attempts to amend the House measure, saying some Republicans “think they have amendments that would improve it.”

That suggests that McConnell may try finding a way to add language that could sink the Democratic resolution or, perhaps, make it more palatable for Republicans. The law requires the Senate to vote on a measure within 18 days of receiving it from the House.

Though presidents have declared 58 emergencies under the law, this is the first aimed at acquiring money for an item Congress has explicitly refused to finance, according to Elizabeth Goitein, co-director for national security at New York University Law School’s Brennan Center for Justice. This is also the first time Congress has cast votes on whether to annul an emergency declaration, she said.

Even with Democrats’ effort near-certain to fail, several lawsuits have been filed aimed at blocking the money, including by Democratic state attorneys general, progressive and environmental groups. Those suits at the very least are likely to delay access to those funds for months or years.

___

AP Congressional Correspondent Lisa Mascaro and reporter Colleen Long contributed to the contents of this report.

pelosivstrump

REPORT: Dems to file measure blocking Trump’s national emergency on Friday

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats will file a resolution Friday aimed at blocking the national emergency declaration that President Donald Trump has issued to help finance his wall along the Southwest border, teeing up a clash over billions of dollars, immigration policy and the Constitution’s separation of powers.

That could set up a vote by the full House by mid-March, if not sooner. The battle is over a declaration that Trump, whose border wall was the most visible trademark of his presidential campaign, is using to try spending billions of dollars beyond what Congress has authorized to start building border barriers.

Passage by the Democratic-run House seems likely. The measure would then move to the Republican-controlled Senate, where there may be enough GOP defections for approval.

Trump has promised to veto the measure. It seems unlikely Congress could muster the two-thirds majorities in each chamber needed to override a veto.

Aides to Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, were circulating a letter Wednesday to other congressional offices seeking additional co-sponsors to his one-page resolution. “We are planning to introduce it on Friday morning,” said the letter, which was obtained by The Associated Press.

Castro’s measure, which described Trump’s emergency declaration, says it “is hereby terminated.” Castro chairs the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Congress approved a vast spending bill last week providing nearly $1.4 billion to build 55 miles of border barriers in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley while preventing a renewed government shutdown. That measure represented a rejection of Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to construct more than 200 miles.

Besides signing the bill, Trump also declared a national emergency that he says gives him access to an additional $6.6 billion that would be taken from a federal asset forfeiture fund, Defense Department anti-drug efforts and military construction projects.

Democrats and some Republicans say there is no emergency at the border and say Trump is improperly declaring one to work around Congress’ rejection of the higher amounts.

The plan for introducing the resolution was initially described by officials at three progressive groups who heard of them from congressional aides but were not authorized to discuss the plans privately.

—–

Alan Fram of the Associated Press contributed to the contents of this report.

trumpnationalemergency

Trump: ‘Shutdown would be a terrible thing’

WASHINGTON (The Hill) — President Trump on Wednesday said he does not want to see another government shutdown, the latest indication he may sign a spending agreement that includes just a fraction of the funds he demanded for a border wall.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump blasted Democrats as “stingy” for not meeting his target for wall funding but said “we have options that most people don’t really understand” to circumvent Congress and build the barrier.

“I don’t want to see a shutdown. Shutdown would be a terrible thing,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office during a meeting with Colombian President Iván Duque.

“I don’t want to see another one,” he added. “There’s no reason for it.”

Trump and his advisers have dropped hints he may sign the bipartisan spending agreement ever since Capitol Hill negotiators announced it on Monday evening, a decision that would please leaders in both political parties.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.), the No. 4 House Democrat, earlier Wednesday predicted “the overwhelming majority” of his fellow party members would vote for the legislation following a caucus meeting where leaders sought to rally support for the measure.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has also expressed hope Trump will sign the legislation, saying Tuesday, “I think he’s got a pretty good deal here.”

Lawmakers have yet to resolve disputes over related issues, such as an extension of the Violence Against Women Act and back pay for federal contractors, and the text remains incomplete with less than three days before the Feb. 15 funding deadline.

While the White House has indicated Trump will sign the measure, the president has stopped short of affirming he will do so. Trump on Wednesday said “we’ll be looking for landmines” when the legislative text arrives.

“We’ll take a very serious look at it,” he said.

The bipartisan agreement would provide $1.375 billion to build 55 miles of new barriers along the southern border, well short of Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion and less than what was included in a spending deal he rejected in December, which triggered a 35-day partial government shutdown that resulted in a massive hit to his approval ratings.

In exchange, Democrats dropped their demand for a hard cap on the number of immigrants that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is allowed to detain at a given time. Lawmakers instead included funding for an average of 45,000 detention beds over the fiscal year.

Trump on Wednesday sought to allay concerns from some conservatives who say the package does not fulfill his campaign promise to build a wall separating the U.S. from Mexico.

The president said the measure actually includes almost $23 billion for the border, even though that figure includes money for all security measures, including technology and personnel, in addition to the wall.

Trump also repeated his claim that his wall is already being built, despite the fact that the vast majority of construction happening now at the U.S.-Mexico border is to repair or replace existing barriers.
“I appreciate all the work the Republicans have done because they’re really going against a radical left. It’s a radical left. And they’re going against it very hard,” he said.

Conservative media figures, whose criticism of the December deal helped prompt Trump to shut down parts of the government, have offered a mixed reaction to the latest agreement.

Right-wing pundit Ann Coulter attacked the deal on Twitter, writing, “we thought Trump was going to be different” in response to House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows’ (R-N.C.) criticism of the compromise.

Others have given Trump some cover.

Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday night called the measure “pathetic,” but added that he is “not as concerned as some other conservatives if the president signs the bill.”

Trump again on Wednesday floated the prospect of taking executive action to build the wall.

One proposal being floated by White House advisers is reprogramming certain federal funds, such as unused military-construction or disaster-relief dollars. That option would allow Trump to begin construction without taking the controversial step of declaring a national emergency while also skirting congressional approval.

“We have other things happening which people aren’t talking about. We’ve got a lot of funds for a lot of other things,” the president said Wednesday.

Trump, however, has not taken a national emergency declaration off the table.

Either move would almost certainly trigger a legal challenge that could stymie wall construction.

The House is expected to take up the funding bill on Thursday evening. If it passes, it would head to the Senate for another vote before it reaches the president’s desk. Roughly one-quarter of the government would shutter after midnight Friday if Trump does not sign the spending package.

The Hill’s Jordan Fabian contributed to the contents of this report.trumpredtiebluecoat

‘I’LL HAVE TO THINK ABOUT IT’: Trump ‘not happy’ about deal that would rule out funding for border wall

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is not happy with an agreement reached by congressional negotiators to avert another partial government shutdown.

The deal, which includes no funding for his promised U.S.-Mexican border wall, was proposed by congressional negotiators to avert another partial government shutdown.

“I have to study it. I’m not happy about it,” Trump replied when asked by reporters whether he would sign the deal crafted by the Democrat-led House and Republican-controlled Senate.

“Am I happy at first glance?” he said. “I just got to see it. The answer is no, I’m not. I’m not happy.”

The proposed deal would allot just $1.375 billion for new fencing along the border, far less than the $5.7 billion the president had demanded for construction of the wall and even less than the deal that he struck down last December, triggering a government shutdown which lasted 35 days.

Despite no funding for construction of the wall, Republican leaders are urging the president to sign the proposed deal in an effort to avoid another government shutdown.

“I hope he’ll sign it,” Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told reporters afterward. “I think he got a pretty good deal.”

Temporary funding for about a quarter of all government operations is scheduled to expire on Friday.

But in typical Trump fashion, the president was already hard at work at an alternative, claiming he was “moving things around” in the budget from “far less important areas” to finance it despite the efforts of Congress.

“Right now, we’re building a lot of wall,” said the president. “And you think it’s easy? We’re building in the face of tremendous obstruction and tremendous opposition.”

Democrats have long fought against the president’s efforts to build a border wall that would divide the United States from Mexico. Despite statistics showing marked increases in crime relating to illegal immigration Democrats claim the wall is “racist” and “unnecessary”.

trumpangry

FED UP: Arizona city under fire over use of razor wire on wall dividing it from Mexico

NOGALES, Ariz.– An Arizona border town is at the center of controversy after razor wire was installed on a wall built to divide it from Mexico.

The city council of Nogales, Arizona, which sits on the border with Nogales, Mexico, is set to consider a motion Wednesday night to remove the razor wire after opponents of the wire claimed that the addition was too “extreme”.

Mayor Arturo Garino told the town’s local paper, the Nogales International, that he asked U.S. Sen. Martha McSally to help the city have the wire removed during a visit to the border last month.

“That wire is lethal, and I really don’t know what they’re thinking by putting it all the way down to the ground,” he said Monday.

The sleepy Arizona town of approximately 20,000 people is not the only border location to utilize such a deterrent.

At the direction of President Donald Trump, the military has installed concertina wire at several official crossings and ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border since early November.

In a tweet, U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, a Democrat, called Trump’s order to install razor wire at locations along the U.S. border a “stunt by the Trump administration”, which he said is “trying to create the perception of rampant lawlessness and crime.”

In an effort to crack down on the ongoing issue of illegal immigration President Trump ordered troops deployed to protect the southern U.S. border at the end of 2018. On Sunday, Pentagon officials said it was sending an additional 3,750 troops to install 150 miles of concertina wire at various locations. There are currently 4,350 active-duty troops on the border.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Department said installation of the wire will continue at border locations in Texas, Arizona and California as long as there is a standing order by the president to do so.

bordertown

TRUMP TO DEMS: ‘No wall, no deal’

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Thursday said he will not accept a deal to avoid another government shutdown unless funding to build a border wall between the southern U.S. border and Mexico is approved.

“No. Because if there’s no wall, it doesn’t work,” Trump told reporters, in response to continued Democratic opposition to the wall.

The president’s comments follow those of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) who said earlier Thursday that Democrats remain adamantly opposed to the wall’s funding or construction.

“There’s not going to be any wall money in the legislation,” Pelosi said during her weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill. “However, if they have some suggestions about certain localities where technology, some infrastructure [is appropriate] … that’s part of the negotiation.”

Trump had previously signaled that he may be open to calling structures along the border “steel slats” or a “barrier,” but returned Thursday to his demands of calling it a wall.

“Lets just call them WALLS from now on and stop playing political games! A WALL is a WALL!” he tweeted.

The president also took to Twitter to announce that more US troops are being brought in to protect the country’s southern border.

“More troops being sent to the Southern Border to stop the attempted Invasion of Illegals, through large Caravans, into our Country,” Trump wrote.

The president agreed to reopen the federal government last Friday amid weeks of shutdown after reaching a tentative 3-week agreement with Democrats to negotiate border security funding.

He vowed to use his presidential power to declare a national emergency and shut the government back down again if the funds are not approved within that period of time.

schumerpelositrump

TIMOTHY BALLARD: “I’ve Fought Sex Trafficking as a DHS Special Agent – We Need to Build the Wall for the Children”

WASHINGTON (Fox News) — As a former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) special agent on the southern border who fought sex trafficking for over a decade, I can say with certainty that the issue of the border wall should be not about power and partisan politics. It should be about the children – the tens of thousands of them who have been and are being trafficked into the U.S. and forced into the commercial sex trade.

Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise on the planet, with millions of child victims stuck in its clutches. Indeed, this is no peripheral issue – this alone should be front and center in our border and immigration debate.

I spent over 12 years working as a special agent/undercover operator for Homeland Security Investigations in the Child Crimes/Child Trafficking unit. For a decade of that service, I was stationed at the border office in Calexico, California. Based on my extensive experience fighting transnational crime along the southern border, I know that we should absolutely finish building the wall for the sake of the children.

The U.S. is one of the highest, if not the highest, consumers of child sex. As such, traffickers know they will become very wealthy by getting their enslaved children into our country. We do these traffickers a great favor by leaving our border virtually wide open.

We should stop seeing the border wall as something that would keep the “bad guys” out – though it would certainly help do that too. We must instead focus on its ability to prevent children from being brought in to become sex slaves. The wall would undoubtedly be a significant barrier to entrance into the black market of child sex trafficking, thus decreasing kidnappers and traffickers’ incentives in the first place.

For those children who are still kidnapped, the wall would provide hope.

Roughly 10,000 children are being smuggled into the U.S. every year to be sold as sex slaves – we owe it to them to finish this wall and protect them from the monsters within.

Read the full op-ed here.

humantrafficking

NO WIN: Senate rejects rival Dem, GOP plans for reopening government

WASHINGTON (AP) — A splintered Senate swatted down competing Democratic and Republican plans for ending the 34-day partial government shutdown on Thursday, leaving President Donald Trump and Congress with no obvious formula for halting the longest-ever closure of federal agencies and the damage it is inflicting around the country.

In an embarrassment to Trump that could weaken his position whenever negotiations get serious, the Democratic proposal got two more votes than the GOP plan. There were six Republican defectors, including freshman Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who’s clashed periodically with the president.

There were faint signs that lawmakers on both sides were looking for ways to resolve their vitriolic stalemate. Moments after the votes, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., went to the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

But Thursday was mostly a day for both parties, in conflicting ways, to show sympathy for unpaid federal workers while yielding no ground in their fight over Trump’s demand to build a border wall with Mexico.

The Senate first rejected a Republican plan reopening government through September and giving Trump the $5.7 billion he’s demanded for building segments of that wall, a project that he’d long promised Mexico would finance. The 50-47 vote for the measure fell 10 shy of the 60 votes needed to succeed.

Minutes later, senators voted 52-44 for a Democratic alternative that sought to open padlocked agencies through Feb. 8 with no wall money. That was eight votes short. It was aimed at giving bargainers time to seek an accord while getting paychecks to 800,000 beleaguered government workers who are a day from going unpaid for a second consecutive pay period.

Flustered lawmakers said the results could be a reality check that would prod the start of talks. Throughout, the two sides have issued mutually exclusive demands that have blocked negotiations from even starting: Trump has refused to reopen government until Congress gives him the wall money, and congressional Democrats have rejected bargaining until he reopens government.

Thursday’s votes could “teach us that the leaders are going to have to get together and figure out how to resolve this,” said Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 Senate GOP leader. He added, “One way or another we’ve got to get out of this. This is no win for anybody.”

For now, partisan potshots flowed freely.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., accused Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross of a “let them eat cake kind of attitude” after he said on television that he didn’t understand why unpaid civil servants were resorting to homeless shelters for food. Even as Pelosi offered to meet the president “anytime,” Trump stood firm, tweeting, “Without a Wall it all doesn’t work…. We will not Cave!” and no meetings were scheduled.

As the Senate debated the two dueling proposals, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the Democratic plan would let that party’s lawmakers “make political points and nothing else” because Trump wouldn’t sign it. He called Pelosi’s stance “unreasonable” and said, “Senate Democrats are not obligated to go down with her ship.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., criticized the GOP plan for endorsing Trump’s proposal to keep the government closed until he got what he wants.

“A vote for the president’s plan is an endorsement of government by extortion,” Schumer said. “If we let him do it today, he’ll do it tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.′

Still smarting from its clash with Pelosi over the State of the Union, the White House closely monitored the Senate votes and Trump spoke with lawmakers throughout the day. He was waiting to see if many Democrats crossed over to back his plan, but West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin proved to be the only one.

Even so, there were suggestions of movement.

Vice President Mike Pence attended a lunch with GOP senators before the vote and heard from lawmakers eager for the standoff to end, participants said. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said their message to Pence was “Find a way forward.”

In consultation with their Senate counterparts, House Democrats were preparing a new border security package they planned to roll out Friday. Despite their pledge to not negotiate until agencies reopened, their forthcoming proposal was widely seen as a counteroffer to Trump. Pelosi expressed “some optimism that things could break loose pretty soon” in a closed-door meeting with other Democrats Wednesday evening, said Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky.

The Democratic package was expected to include $5.7 billion, the same amount Trump wants for his wall, but use it instead for fencing, technology, personnel and other measures. In a plan the rejected Senate GOP plan mirrored, Trump on Saturday proposed to reopen government if he got his wall money. He also proposed to revamp immigration laws, including new restrictions on Central American minors seeking asylum in the U.S. and temporary protections for immigrants who entered the country illegally as children.

In another sign of hope, Thursday’s vote on the Democratic plan represented movement by McConnell. For weeks, he’d refused to allow a Senate vote on anything Trump wouldn’t sign and has let Trump and Democrats try reaching an accord. McConnell has a history of helping resolve past partisan standoffs, and his agreement to allow Thursday’s vote was seen by some as a sign he would become more forcefully engaged.

With the impacts of the shutdown becoming increasingly painful, however, lawmakers on both sides were trumpeting their willingness to compromise in the battle over border security and immigration issues, such as protection against deportation for immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.

“We can work this out,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y.

At a panel discussion held by House Democrats on the effects of the shutdown, union leaders and former Homeland Security officials said they worried about the long-term effects. “I fear we are rolling the dice,” said Tim Manning, a former Federal Emergency Management Agency official. “We will be lucky to get everybody back on the job without a crisis to respond to.”

___

Associated Press writers Andrew Taylor and Alan Fram contributed to the contents of this report.

schumerpelositrump

‘NO DEAL’: McConnell blocks bill that would’ve reopened most of government

WASHINGTON (The Hill) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocked legislation on Wednesday that would reopen most of the government currently closed during the partial shutdown.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) went to the Senate floor to ask for consent to take up the House-passed bill that would fund every agency and department impacted by the partial shutdown, except the Department of Homeland Security, through Sept. 30.

McConnell, however, objected. It’s the fourth time he’s blocked the bill to reopen most of government that is currently closed. He’s also blocking, as recently as Tuesday, a House-passed bill to fund DHS through Feb. 8.

Democrats have been coming to the floor on a near daily basis while the Senate is in session to try to bring up the House package, even though the GOP leader has said he will not allow them to come to the Senate floor.

Under the Senate rules any one senator can try to pass a bill, but any one senator can also object.

The partial government shutdown, which is currently in its 33rd day, is impacting roughly a quarter of the government and forcing approximately 800,000 employees to work without pay or be furloughed.

The back-and-forth on the floor comes a day before the Senate is expected to hold votes on dueling proposals that would fully reopen the government.

The first proposal, which is backed by the White House, includes $5.7 billion for the wall in exchange for a three-year extension of protections for Deferred action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and some Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders.

McConnell is publicly pushing Democrats to support that proposal, even though it’s expected to fall short of the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster.

“The president went out of his way to include additional items that have been priority areas for Democrats,” McConnell said on Wednesday.

If that White House-backed measure does not get 60 votes, the Senate will then take a second vote on a proposal to temporarily reopen the government with a continuing resolution (CR) through Feb. 8.

Democrats say that Trump has to reopen the government before they will negotiate. They worry that making a deal while the government is closed would set the precedent for shutting down the government as a negotiating tactic.

But that bill is also unlikely to get 60 votes. The Senate passed a continuing resolution (CR) to fund a quarter of the government through Feb. 8 by voice vote late last year but Trump then came out against the measure.

mcconnell_pelosi-1-696x363