Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked a vote on Democrat spending bills that would reopen parts of the government without a border wall, referring to the legislation as “political stunts.”
“The last thing we need to do right now is trade pointless—absolutely pointless—show votes back and forth across the aisle,” McConnell said on the floor Thursday, according to CNN. “The political stunts are not going to get us anywhere.”
The partial government shutdown has persisted for nearly three weeks thus far, with nearly 800,000 government workers going without paychecks. House Democrats have continued passing bills to reopen parts of the government, despite knowing they’re likely to be halted by Senate Republicans.
The bills rejected Thursday would have funded the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 8 and the other shuttered agencies without current-year appropriations through Sept. 30, The Hill reports.
McConnell has said he won’t allow any legislation that President Donald Trump would not sign, meaning any bill to fund the government must also include over $5 billion for a border wall.
He said Thursday that the shutdown has been “prolonged by my Democratic colleagues’ refusal to even come to the table,” CNN reports.
Trump met with Democratic leadership for negotiations on Wednesday afternoon, but reportedly stormed out of the meeting, later calling the attempted negotiations a “waste of time” on Twitter.
“Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans have a responsibility, not simply to wait for the President, but to intervene,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in remarks on the Senate floor, CNN reports.
The Senate technically has the power to override a presidential veto, allowing for the government to reopen, if two-thirds of each chamber were to pass the bill.