US Senate Democrats Block Bill on New Sanctions Against Syria Over Shutdown

Democrats vow to block key defense bill until Republicans stand up to Trump on shutdown 'This is not business as usual'

President Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House on Sunday before traveling to Camp David

Vice President Mike Pence said Democrats were "unwilling to even negotiate" an end to shutdown and the standoff over President Donald Trump's desire for a border barrier.

The border wall was a signature campaign promise for Trump.

Steamtown National Historic Site remains temporarily closed due to government shutdown in Scranton, Pa., on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019.

Schumer, who together with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will rebut Trump's wall speech, was not biting. "Separate the shutdown from the arguments over border security".

But Trump had already flatly rejected that idea in the speech that preceded their remarks.

"For the sake of the humanitarian crisis on our border", McConnell said. "This is about whether we fulfill our sacred duty to the American citizens we serve".

House tax committee Chairman Richard Neal said he meant to hold hearings on the shutdown's impact on the Internal Revenue Service and its ability to distribute tax refunds.

"The notion that he's going to walk away with nothing is not real", said Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. "We don't have a better economic trading partner than Israel".

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Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) is leading the effort by Senate Democrats to introduce a companion bill to a major political and electoral reform bill introduced by House Democrats on January 4.

Pence also will meet with Senate Republicans on Wednesday. They discussed the security situation at the border and the administration's plans for handling the ongoing partial shutdown.

But at the White House, Trump said the federal workers are "terrific patriots" who will eventually get paid.

Republican leader says opposition to border security funding is partisan spite.

"Sometimes you need the coach to come rah-rah the team in the locker room", Collins said.

Graham seems to be driving at a deal to sweeten the pot enough for Democrats that they'd yield on the wall.

McConnell objected to the Democratic request, saying he won't agree to "pointless show votes" on bills Trump won't sign.

Before the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged Democrats not to "shut the Senate down", especially over a bill aimed at improving relations with Israel and Jordan, key allies in the Middle East. "Walls and barriers are not immoral".

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McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said in response, "It would be a stunning reversal for Sen". "It's just political spite".

"If it was so important for Senator McConnell to pass this legislation in the 115th Congress, he could have done so at any time", Soifer said, referring to the nearly limitless power of the majority leader to advance legislation.

"The president thinks people can just ask their father for money", she said outside the White House.

"I said bye-bye, nothing else works!" the president tweeted. "They escalated their demands, not compromised their demands". "We really have to make the case in that window of time".

Democrats are also working to sway some moderate and skeptical Republicans to abandon Trump on the wall.

It states it would 'increase protections for state and local governments in the United States that decide to divest from, prohibit investment in, and restrict contracting with companies knowingly engaged in commerce-related or investment-related BDS activity targeting Israel, ' according to Senate Republicans.

"Senate Democrats should block consideration of any bills unrelated to opening the government until Sen. They are essentially the same funding bills that the Republican Senate wrote and approved by a 92-6 margin during the last Congress".

"The Senate should vote on nothing else until we vote to reopen the government".

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