Democrats held a talk-a-thon from the Senate floor on Tuesday night as they try to ratchet up pressure on Republicans to take up bills to end the partial government shutdown.
Democrats spoke from the Senate floor for roughly two and a half hours. The talkathon came ahead of President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal plan to contain Washington protests employs 7,600 personnel: report GOP Rep calls on primary opponent to condemn campaign surrogate's racist video Tennessee court rules all registered voters can obtain mail-in ballots due to COVID-19 MORE's prime-time address, where he was expected to address the U.S.-Mexico border wall fight at the center of the shutdown. 
"It's unnecessary because there are bills on the floor right now that would solve this, bills that are bipartisan, bills that have been supported … by you and other Republican colleagues in the chamber a matter of a few weeks ago," Kaine said. 
"Freedom for six bills passed by the Republican-led Senate so we can put America back to work. It sounds like a pretty good idea, but good ideas and common sense seem to be victims, victims of this presidential temper tantrum," he said.
Kaine and Merkley are two of more than a dozen Democratic senators who spoke from the floor on Tuesday night to try to build public pressure behind their position. 
"I urge Senator McConnell to bring these bills to the floor. Let President Trump decide to sign them or not sign them. He can make that choice as president, but we are a separate branch of government, and it's up to us to make the determination to end this shutdown immediately," Shaheen said. 
The floor speeches come as there is no sign of a quick agreement to end the partial shutdown. Trump has dug in over his demand for more than $5 billon for a wall along the southern border—an amount that cannot get 60 votes in the Senate or pass the Democratic-controlled House. 
Democrats have pointed to $1.3 billion as their cap and stressed that it should go toward fencing rather than a concrete wall. 
House Democrats also passed a package last week that would fund the quarter of government impacted by the shutdown, effectively kicking the border wall fight to Feb. 8. House Democrats are also expected to begin passing individual appropriations bills this week. 
"These noncontroversial bills were originally drafted and approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee run by the Republican Party. None of this makes sense at all," she said. 
The Senate previously passed a stopgap bill late last year but lawmakers were caught off guard when Trump signaled he would not support it following the urging of conservatives.
McConnell reiterated on Tuesday that a deal has to be able to get 60 votes in the Senate and Trump's signature.
"As I've stated clearly, the Senate will not waste floor time on show votes, messaging votes or any other proposals which fail to check those boxes regarding the funding bill," McConnell said. 
But Democrats are trying to up public pressure on McConnell. They separately blocked a foreign policy bill on Tuesday, arguing the chamber should be focused on government funding legislation. 
Because Senate Democrats are in the minority, their options to force action are limited. But they've repeatedly used marathon floor speeches to try to build public support for their positions, holding similar talk-a-thons ahead of key Cabinet votes and during the ObamaCare repeal fight. 
Democrats used their floor speeches on Tuesday night to talk about the impact the partial shutdown is having in their home states.
Roughly 800,000 federal employees have either been furloughed or been forced to work without pay due to the shutdown, which began on Dec. 22. 
"I'm not worried about a president keeping a campaign promise that didn't make sense from the start. …Tonight let's make sure that the people who work at the border and work at TSA and work for the federal government get back to work this week," said Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinGraham postpones Russia probe subpoena vote as tensions boil over Senate panel sends Trump appeals court pick to floor in party-line vote Democrats aim to amend Graham subpoena to include Trump allies MORE (D-Ill.). 
Updated: 9:07 p.m.