Schumer blocks bill to pay Coast Guard

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law | Michigan governor seeks to pause Medicaid work requirements | New front in fight over Medicaid block grants House, Senate Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law Why a second Trump term and a Democratic Congress could be a nightmare scenario for the GOP MORE (D-N.Y.) blocked a request to pay the Coast Guard on Thursday after Republicans refused to also open the rest of the federal government. 

Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) tried to take up legislation to pay the Coast Guard, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security.
 
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Schumer blocked the request after first asking if Kennedy would modify his request to instead reopen the quarter of the government currently closed. 
 
"President TrumpDonald John TrumpPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant Trump calls Warren 'Pocahontas,' knocks wealth tax MORE is responsible not only for thousands of Coast Guard personnel not getting paid but hundreds of thousands of other federal employees also not getting paid," Schumer said.
 
Kennedy said he would not modify his legislation because it would then be vetoed by Trump. 
 
"It will be a futile, useless exercise. Now, we can go through it if you want to. You can spend all day trying to teach a goat how to climb a tree, but you're better off hiring a squirrel," said Kennedy, who is known for his colorful colloquialisms. 
 
When Kennedy rejected Schumer's request to fully reopen the government, the Senate Democratic leader in turn rejected his request to pay the Coast Guard. 
 
"I would remind him whether it's squirrel, jack rabbit or armadillo, that we are the number one branch of government, and we have veto override power. We could get the powers paid even if he won't sign it," Schumer said. 
 
The back-and-forth comes as the Senate is expected to take votes on two proposals later Thursday that would reopen the government. Both are expected to fail. 
 
The first is Trump's proposal to reopen the government in exchange for $5.7 billion for the U.S.-Mexico border wall. The second is a stopgap measure that would reopen the quarter of the government currently closed and fund it through Feb. 8. 
 
Roughly a quarter of the federal government has been closed since Dec. 22, making it the longest funding lapse in modern U.S. history. Approximately 800,000 federal employees have been forced to work without pay or be furloughed.