Democratic Senators: No New Bills in Senate Until a Shutdown Vote

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Both U.S. Senators from Maryland said Sunday that they believe the Senate shouldn’t consider any new legislation that is not related to the partial government shutdown. They said that no new business should be brought up in the Senate until the upper body takes a vote to reopen the government.

The two senators are both Democrats — Sen. Chris Van Hollen and Sen. Ben Cardin.

Van Hollen wrote on Twitter that Democrats in the Senate “should block consideration of any bills unrelated to opening the government,” while also calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to allow a vote to reopen the government.

“Senate Democrats should block consideration of any bills unrelated to opening the government until Sen. Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans allow a vote on the bipartisan bills the House passed to open the government. Mitch, don’t delay. Let’s vote!” he tweeted.

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Cardin wrote in response to Van Hollen that he “agreed” and called the shutdown a “crisis” and a “fundamental failure.”

“Agreed. This isn’t business as usual. This is a crisis, a fundamental failure to govern, and Americans are suffering for it,” he tweeted. “The Senate should not take up any bills unrelated to reopening the government until @SenateMajLdr lets us vote on exactly that.”

On Friday at midnight the U.S. government began its third week of a partial shutdown. Nearly 800,000 federal workers are not getting paid, although about half that number are still on the job with no paychecks coming in. The other half are not working because they have been furloughed.

The House and the Senate have been unable to come to an agreement on Donald Trump’s demand for $5 billion in border wall funding to be included in any spending bill that he signs to re-open the government agencies which have been temporarily shut down.

Trump repeatedly has said that he won’t sign a funding bill that does not include funding for the wall, while Democrats such as Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have consistently vowed not to approve any wall funding at all. Pelosi has called the building of a border wall with Mexico “immoral.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, refuses to bring the House legislation up for a vote in the Senate without Trump’s support. In response, Pelosi accused McConnell of abdicating his responsibility as Senate majority leader.