Durbin presses McConnell to take lead amid shutdown

Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinFour questions that deserve answers at the Guantanamo oversight hearing Senate dodges initial December crisis with last-minute deal Conservatives target Biden pick for New York district court MORE (Ill.), the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, is calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats livid over GOP's COVID-19 attacks on Biden US could default within weeks absent action on debt limit: analysis The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Congress avoids shutdown MORE (R-Ky.) to stand up to President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania ​​Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't MORE and help end the partial government shutdown.

As the shutdown entered its 13th day, McConnell has held to his position that he won’t hold a vote on a spending bill to reopen it unless Trump is willing to sign it.

“Listen to Mitch McConnell for goodness sakes: He’s waiting for a permission slip from Donald Trump to be a leader in the Senate,” Durbin told Hill.TV Thursday morning.

“You know what he ought to do is appeal to his members — do you want to sit down and try to solve this problem by using our power in the Senate?” Durbin continued, adding that McConnell “didn’t say that — no, no, no — ‘I’ll wait until I get the call from Donald Trump as to what I ought to do.’ That is not serving his party or this nation.”

Durbin couldn’t say when the federal government will reopen amid the showdown over Trump’s demand for funding for his proposed border wall.

“It’s up to the president; it’s really in his hands,” Durbin said. "There's a way to end this; the president can do it immediately. We offered to him yesterday to take the Republican-passed spending bills for eight different federal agencies and departments and to enact them today so that would be the end of the shutdown — he said no."

— Molly K. Hooper