Democrats don't want roughly a quarter of the federal government to be shut down, but the situation provides some upsides for the new House majority as the impasse stretches into its 18th day.
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. The shutdown began December 22 in a largely partisan dispute over funding a wall on the U.S. -Mexico border that was a centerpiece of Trump's presidential campaign.
Last week, seven House Republicans broke ranks and voted with Democrats on a package of appropriations bills that reopened most of government without funding the wall, a number that could have been higher but for personal intervention by Vice President Pence, who called a number of Republicans to urge them to vote "no" on the Democrats' bills. This time, however, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell has blocked those bills, refusing to take up measures the president won't sign.
"Public support for these kinds of reforms is overwhelming across party lines", Udall said. "The certainty of the tax returns of hard-working families should no longer be held hostage to the president's reckless demands". Democrats in turn accused Republicans of trying to use the BDS measure to divide moderate and liberal Democrats.
In his first national address from the Oval Office, the president gave no indication he was softening his stance that the partial government shutdown would continue without money for the wall. That measure has yet to be scheduled for a vote but could be joined with other spending bills in a bid to end the shutdown.
On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY told fellow Democrats he would vote to block debate on the measure until McConnell agrees to take up House-passed bills to reopen the closed government departments.
"I anticipate this body will debate US military strategy toward Syria in the coming weeks, as it conducts oversight over the administration's, apparently, ongoing review of its Syria policies", McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said while voicing his support of the legislation last week. That bill passed because a citizen-led movement forced Congress and the president to act, he said.
The border wall was a signature campaign promise for Trump.
Senator Bob Menendez, a Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said the bill "will come back and it will have very strong bipartisan support". He wants an agreement on border wall funding before agreeing to open any part of the government that is now shuttered.
"We all agree that we need to secure our borders, while honoring our values: We can build the infrastructure and roads at our ports of entry", Pelosi said. "We won't be doing it in dribs and drabs".
McConnell went on to say partisan tantrums are no way to govern, and claimed Democrats should seek treatment for their allergies to border security.
Democrats in both chambers say the business of reopening government must take priority and are resisting any other parliamentary business until that happens. "Let's get those reopened while the negotiations continue". 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 previous year by GOP committees.