by Susan Ferrechio · January 10, 2019
Senate Democrats on Thursday began a “blockade” of all legislation after Senate Republicans refused to consider two House-passed bills that would fund partially shut down government agencies without money for a border wall.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Thursday morning blocked the two bills that were introduced by the two Democratic senators from Maryland, where thousands of federal government workers reside. Democrats made it clear afterward that they wouldn’t agree to take up any bills other than those to reopen the government.
“It’s my commitment to my federal workers and our country that the first order of business here should be the reopening of government,” said Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md.
Democrats this week already blocked work on a pro-Israel bill, and Thursday afternoon, the blocked it again when Republicans called it up for a vote. That bill wold have allowed states to stop doing business with companies that boycott Israel, a move aimed at fighting the global effort to boycott, divest and sanction Israel.
Democrats have also suggested they will filibuster all bills other than spending bills for the nine federal agencies subject to the partial shutdown.
They were preparing to block the Israel-related bill again this week if Republicans bring it up, even though Democrats, including Cardin, are co-sponsors of that bill.
McConnell called the move “a blockade” and said it was “rather unprecedented” for Democrats to block all floor legislation.
“There are two shutdowns going on here,” McConnell said. “The Senate itself is being shut down because our Senate colleagues refuse to do business during this period. There is no precedent for that, no reason for that.”
McConnell said there is no purpose to voting on the Senate-authored appropriations measures to reopen the government because President Trump will not sign them.
Cardin suggested there may be the votes to override a veto, which would require two-thirds majority support of both chambers. But Republicans have signaled so far they are standing behind Trump’s insistence on funding for a border wall.
Democrats believe Republicans will begin to abandon Trump beginning Friday, when paychecks lapse for 800,000 federal workers impacted by the partial shutdown.
“Your phones will all be ringing off the hook tomorrow when federal employees begin to miss that federal paycheck,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. said.
Washington Examiner · by Susan Ferrechio · January 10, 2019