House Passes Bill to Fund Agencies Amid Government Shutdown

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Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who officially became the first Palestinian-American congresswoman last week, was accused Monday of perpetuating historically anti-Semitic sentiments.

Without the votes Democrats have taken and will be taking to reopen government, the first few weeks of the 116th Congress would have provided for a sleepy House floor schedule.

Trump's wall has transcended typical Washington bickering over policy goals to become a political battle over the central ideologies of both parties.

On Wednesday, House lawmakers including eight Republicans passed a bill to end the shutdown of the Treasury Department and other agencies, without money for the wall.

Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) is leading the effort by Senate Democrats to introduce a companion bill to a major political and electoral reform bill introduced by House Democrats on January 4. Democrats have called a wall costly, ineffective and immoral.

The stalemate is a reflection of the continued standoff over the ongoing government shutdown, which does not look like it will end anytime soon.

Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the Senate majority leader, has slotted as the first Senate bill of the new Congress a mini-omnibus package on Middle East policy.

But the Republican-controlled Senate refused to consider the legislation because it did not include $5.6 billion for President Donald Trump's border wall. "In 2013, every Senate Democrat supported legislation to spend $46 billion on border security and a wall".

"If they have to vote on this over and over and over again, they have to deal with the consequences of what they're doing to the American public", said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.

Trump Says He Won't Declare a National Emergency...For Now
President Trump is threatening to declare a national emergency, which would allow him to bypass Congress and build the wall. A reporter asked, "Do you think that Congress would prevent the president from declaring a national emergency?"

That's one more Republican than the number of Republicans who supported a similar bill last week. He wants an agreement on border wall funding before agreeing to open any part of the government that is now shuttered.

The United States faces a looming crisis - that, at least, was a point on which Democrats and Republicans agreed Tuesday night in a pair of televised addresses during primetime. Trump and Vice President Pence are also set to speak with Senate Republicans on Wednesday.

"We knew going into 2019 that the Democrats would continue their reckless obstruction and grandstanding", the group said in an action alert to its members.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said a new batch of polling shows voters back Democrats or want a compromise now.

Eight Republicans joined 232 Democrats to support the bill.

Democrats plan to vote against the measure to pressure McConnell to pass legislation funding the government, according to a senior Senate Democratic aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss party strategy. If they are working to protect America and the lives of our citizens, they should be getting their paychecks on time.

It's the White House, she said, that keeps moving "the goalposts". Trump has already attempted to blame Democrats for the shutdown - even though he previously boasted in front of cameras that he would be "proud to shut down the government for border security".

"The problem right now is that there are those who feel very passionately that we should not do anything unless the government is open", Menendez told Al Jazeera.