McConnell: House government funding package a 'total non-starter'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTSA agents protest government shutdown at Pittsburgh airport The case for Russia sanctions Pompeo planning to meet with Pat Roberts amid 2020 Senate speculation MORE (R-Ky.) warned that a House plan to fully reopen the federal government is a "total non-starter," comparing it to "political performance art" that will not be taken up in the Senate.

McConnell, speaking from the Senate floor, said Democrats will need to get "serious" about border security if a government funding agreement is to be reached because their package "will not be a serious contribution" to negotiations.

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"It's exactly the kind of proposal you'd expect if the incoming House Democrats are choosing to stage a political side show rather than doing the hard work of helping govern the country. In other words, a total non-starter," McConnell said.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders late Tuesday said House Democrats' plan to reopen the government was a "non-starter," dubbing the proposal "the Pelosi plan" and saying that it "fails to secure the border and puts the needs of other countries above the needs of our own."

Members of congressional leadership, including McConnell, met with Trump and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenDem senator requests FBI investigate Nielsen for potential perjury Schumer wants answers from Trump on eminent domain at border Trump officials discussed ‘deterrent effect’ of prosecuting migrant parents: report MORE for a "briefing" on border security earlier Wednesday. But they appeared to make no progress toward a deal and are expected to meet again Friday.

House Democrats are expected to vote Thursday on a package to reopen the government. One bill would fund DHS through Feb. 8. The second would fund the remaining six bills through Sept. 30, the end of the 2019 fiscal year.

The shutdown began Dec. 22 amid a stalemate on the U.S.-Mexico border wall. The Senate had passed a seven-week stopgap bill and expected Trump would sign it. But the president, under fire from conservative lawmakers and allies, refused to support the bill and doubled down on his demand for $5 billion.

The House bill is considered dead on arrival in the Senate, where McConnell has pledged he will not bring it up.

McConnell on Wednesday night said he is not interested in "having show votes" in the Senate.

“The Senate will not waste its time considering a Democratic bill which cannot pass this chamber and which the president will not sign,” he said.