McConnell blocks bill to temporarily reopen DHS

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell: Trump's troop pull back in Syria a 'grave strategic mistake' Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Trump insists Turkey wants cease-fire | Fighting continues in Syrian town | Pentagon chief headed to Mideast | Mattis responds to criticism from Trump TSA head rules himself out for top DHS job   MORE (R-Ky.) blocked a House-passed bill to temporarily reopen the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with the partial shutdown in its 32nd day.

Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineLawmakers set to host fundraisers focused on Nats' World Series trip The Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington mourns loss of Elijah Cummings GOP cautions Graham against hauling Biden before Senate MORE (D-Va.) tried to take up the House bill, which would fund the department through Feb. 8. 

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McConnell, however, objected. Under Senate rules any one member can try to pass a bill, but any one member can also block that request. 

McConnell has said for weeks that he won’t take up the House legislation, arguing it would be a “show” vote because President TrumpDonald John TrumpFlorida GOP lawmaker says he's 'thinking' about impeachment Democrats introduce 'THUG Act' to block funding for G-7 at Trump resort Kurdish group PKK pens open letter rebuking Trump's comparison to ISIS MORE won’t sign the bill. 

Instead, the GOP leader is expected to hold a procedural vote Thursday that would trade $5.7 billion for wall funding in exchange for a three-year extension of legal protections for some immigrants.

"The opportunity to end all this is staring us right in the face. That's why we'll vote on this legislation on the Senate floor this week. All that needs to happen is for our Democratic colleagues to agree that it's time to put the country ahead of politics, take yes for an answer and vote to put this standoff behind us," McConnell said from the Senate floor earlier on Tuesday. 

But the president’s proposal is not expected to get the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate, much less be approved by the House where Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCummings to lie in state at the Capitol House Republicans 'demand the release of the rules' on impeachment Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union —Dem wants more changes to Pelosi drug pricing bill | Ebola outbreak wanes, but funding lags | Johnson & Johnson recalls batch of baby powder after asbestos traces found MORE (D-Calif.) has called it a “non-starter.”
 
McConnell said as recently as last week that in order to get a Senate vote a bill would need to have both the backing of Democrats and Trump. 
 
It's the fourth time McConnell has blocked the House's DHS bill. He's also blocked legislation three times that would reopen the other departments and agencies, besides DHS, that are currently shuttered because of the partial shutdown and fund them through Sept. 30. 
 
The partial government shutdown, currently in its 32nd day, has forced roughly a quarter of the government to close and approximately 800,000 federal employees to be furloughed or work without pay.
 
Democrats are trying to build pressure on the Senate GOP leader, who has stuck closely to the president in the funding fight. 
 
Kaine, whose state has a large group of federal employees, talked on Tuesday about the impact the partial shutdown is having on the Coast Guard. 
 
"Every other branch of the military is currently funded," Kaine said. "The DHS, however, is not funded. So the Coast Guard is the one military branch that's not being paid."