CNN’s Camerota presses Kaine over refusal to do any Senate business before shutdown ends

CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota on Wednesday pressed Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDem senator wants Trump to extend immigration protections to Venezuelans Pentagon sends Congress list of projects that could lose funds to Trump's emergency declaration The Hill's Morning Report - 2020 Dems grapple with race, gender and privilege MORE (D-Va.) over the vow of some Senate Democrats to block all votes during the partial government shutdown.

Camerota, the host of "New Day," said Democrats were making "the wheels of government grind to a complete" halt.


"That's not what we're doing," Kaine responded.

"There is a bill on the desk of the Senate — actually two bills right now. One to fund all the government through the end of the year, the shuttered agencies, except the immigration agencies, they would be funded through February 1," Kaine added.

"I believe the top priority of Congress right now should be to reopen government and quit punishing worker citizens," he said.

Kaine in a tweet earlier this week called for the Senate to not vote on any legislation until the government is reopened. He and other Senate Democrats are looking to pressure Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump: Green New Deal 'the most preposterous thing' and 'easy to beat' 2020 Dems avoid this year's AIPAC conference GOP eager to exploit Dem court-packing fight MORE (R-Ky.) into allowing a vote to reopen the government. 

“So the right strategy is to reopen government and then we can find an immigration and border security deal and deal with the other business that's before us," he said on Wednesday.

The shutdown, currently in its 19th day, began after President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate GOP budget ignores Trump, cuts defense Trump says he'll nominate Stephen Moore to Fed White House: ISIS territory in Syria has been 100 percent eliminated MORE refused last month to sign a funding bill that didn't include at least $5 billion for a wall along the southern border.

Trump is scheduled to meet Wednesday with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to resume negotiations over border security.

The meeting will come after Trump gave a prime-time address from the Oval Office on Tuesday evening in which he claimed a wall is necessary to confront a “growing humanitarian and security crisis” at the southern border.

Democrats have vowed not to approve any funding for a wall.