Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked legislation for a second time on Tuesday that would have reopened the federal government, which continues in a partial shutdown that began on Dec. 22.
According to The Hill, Democratic Sens. Chris Van Hollen (MD) and Ben Cardin (MD) requested consent to take up a package of bills that passed the House and would put the federal government back in business — but McConnell objected.
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.
Under Senate rules, any senator can ask for consent to vote on or pass a bill, but any senator can object. McConnell blocked the two bills, saying the Senate wouldn't "participate in something that doesn't lead to an outcome."
McConnell has vowed not to allow a vote on any legislation that does not involve a deal between President Donald Trump and Democrats, who are at a standoff on the issue of Trump’s border wall.
"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.
“Here in the Senate my Democratic colleagues have an important choice to make. They could stand with common sense border experts, with federal workers and with their own past voting records, by the way, or they could continue to remain passive spectators complaining from the sidelines, as the Speaker refuses to negotiate with the White House,” McConnell said from the Senate floor.
Citing the same reasons, McConnell blocked a vote last Thursday on similar legislation.