Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has called the bills Democrats plan on passing Thursday in an effort to end the government shutdown “political theater,” rather than a serious solution.
“The legislation that House Democrats reportedly plan to vote on later today is in my view not a serious attempt [to end the shutdown],” McConnell said Thursday, the first day of the 116th Congress. “I would call it political theater, not productive lawmaking.”
The spending package House Democrats plan to pass does not include the $5 billion for the construction of a southern border wall that President Trump has repeatedly demanded, which remains the key sticking point in negotiations to break the impasse.
Both Trump and Democrats have so far refused to budge on the issue, with Democrats unwilling to appropriate more than $1.6 billion for non-wall border security and Trump continuing to insist on $5 billion for a wall. Thursday marks the 13th day of the partial government shutdown, which has caused several departments including Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, State, Interior, Agriculture, Treasury, Commerce, Homeland Security, and Justice, to run out of money.
On Thursday, McConnell accused Democrats of being more concerned with their “unreasonable political standoff” with the president than the “facts on which the entire conversation must turn,” such as the lower rate of illegal border crossings in areas where a barrier has been erected. He has vowed that the Senate will not vote on the package House Democrats plan to send its way.