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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPelosi, Schumer press for gun screenings as Trump inches away The malware election: Returning to paper ballots only way to prevent hacking First House Republican backs bill banning assault weapons 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.


"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 NielsenTop immigration aide experienced 'jolt of electricity to my soul' when Trump announced campaign Trump casts uncertainty over top intelligence role Juan Williams: Trump, his allies and the betrayal of America 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.