Democrats block Middle East bill in the Senate over shutdown

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The US government is now entering its third week of a shutdown as President Donald Trump has refused to sign any funding legislation that does not include $5 billion for a border wall with Mexico.

"We won't be opening until it's solved", Trump said during a Rose Garden press conference Friday.

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

"After the decision to pull out from #Syria many of my Democratic colleagues called for Congress to take action to address the negative impacts of that decision", he said on Twitter.

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The long slog means that reform may have to wait until President Donald Trump leaves office ― even though some of the provisions in the bill are meant to rein conflicts of interest and corruption that he is accused of. Hoyer said he believes even more Republicans could join them later this week when Democrats begin holding votes on individual spending bills that were written past year by GOP committees.

Trump meets with Senate Republicans Wednesday on Capitol Hill just hours after he argued on national television that a border wall was needed to resolve a security and humanitarian "crisis". Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey also broke with his party to vote with Republicans. A deal with the White House, he said late last month, "should not be an impossible feat, given that Democrats have voted in the past for a wall".

But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told fellow Democrats he will vote to block debate on the measure until McConnell agrees to take up House-passed bills to reopen the closed government departments, according to a senior Senate Democratic aide.

"Due to the government shutdown, millions of low-income renters are at risk if the shutdown continues into February, when public housing officials say they don't know if rental assistance payments will be able to continue", he wrote. If they are working to protect America and the lives of our citizens, they should be getting their paychecks on time. Benjamin Cardin, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., Sen.

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Sen. McConnell, meanwhile, voiced his support for the president's plan in a news release.

The most outspoken critic has been Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders who slammed the introduction of the bill in the midst of a government now in its third week. Jeff Merkley and Delaware Sen. "How silly", McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor.

"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.

"They forgot what country they represent", Tlaib said of lawmakers who support the pro-Israel legislation. But he says border-security experts have urged more reliance on technological surveillance and increased border staffing, rather than a sea-to-sea wall constructed over rugged terrain. Democrats - who control the House after an election they interpret as a repudiation of Trump's anti-immigrant message - were not showing signs of cracking in their resolve.

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This article was written by Seung Min Kim, Erica Werner and Jeff Stein, a reporter for The Washington Post.