McConnell blocks bill to temporarily reopen DHS

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money — Democrats rush to finish off infrastructure Biden employs flurry of meetings to unite warring factions GOP senators say Biden COVID-19 strategy has 'exacerbated vaccine hesitancy' 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 KaineDemocrats confront 'Rubik's cube on steroids' Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Emissions heading toward pre-pandemic levels The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - What do Manchin and Sinema want? MORE (D-Va.) tried to take up the House bill, which would fund the department through Feb. 8. 

ADVERTISEMENT
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 TrumpUkraine's president compares UN to 'a retired superhero' Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid Heller won't say if Biden won election 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 PelosiBiden touts 'progress' during 'candid' meetings on .5T plan Manchin: Biden told moderates to pitch price tag for reconciliation bill On The Money — Democrats rush to finish off infrastructure 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."