As President Donald Trump prepares to pressure Democrats on border wall funding with a nationally televised address Tuesday night, Senate Democrats are pushing back by pledging a blockade of legislation until the Republican-controlled chamber votes on a spending bill to reopen shuttered U.S. government agencies.
Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar urged her colleagues in a tweet Tuesday to focus efforts on ending the shutdown.
Klobuchar joined a chorus of Senate Democrats pressuring Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to allow votes on bills the Democratically-led House of Representatives passed last week to fund government agencies that saw their spending authority expire in December.
Virginia Democrat Mark Warner echoed the sentiment on Twitter.
With rare exception, Senate rules mandate three-fifths backing to advance any bill that fails to garner unanimous support. Republicans have a 53-47 majority in the chamber, well short of 60 votes that would be required to advance legislation on their own.
McConnell, who has broad authority to determine which bills come to the floor for a vote, repeatedly has stated that he will not allow the Senate to consider any funding bill Trump opposes.
“Democrats will have to get serious about border security so that a government funding agreement can pass the House, earn 60 votes in the Senate, and receive a presidential signature. All three of these things are needed,” the majority leader tweeted last week.
Trump is demanding billions of taxpayer dollars for wall construction along the U.S.-Mexico border. The House-passed spending bills would extend overall border security operations but set aside no money for a wall.
If Senate Democrats follow through on their legislative blockade pledge, the first casualty would be a bill covering security assistance for Israel, U.S.-Jordanian defense cooperation, and efforts to aid and protect Syrian civilians.