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Senate Republicans block funds for Homeland Security Dept., border agents

By Nicholas Sakelaris
Senate Republicans block funds for Homeland Security Dept., border agents
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has blocked all bills that seek to reopen the government without giving money for a border wall. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Senate Republicans on Friday thwarted another attempt to reopen the Department of Homeland Security, by blocking a bill that would've funded the agency for three weeks.

The federal shutdown has dragged on for 28 days with no sign of a resolution to break the deadlock. The bill Friday would have funded DHS until Feb. 8.

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During Friday's session, Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., objected to the bill on behalf of Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.

McConnell has previously said any measure that's not bipartisan and doesn't include President Donald Trump in the negotiations will not come up for a vote. He called the attempt a "show vote" since it wouldn't pass and, even if it did, wouldn't get Trump's signature.

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"There's no way around it," McConnell said Tuesday. "Having show votes in the Senate doesn't solve the problem."

Senate Democrats have vowed to continue pushing for a vote because it funds U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officers. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., plans to propose a similar bill next week, and will force the Senate to have a rare Saturday session.

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"If the issue in dispute is border security ... then why punish the very people who are providing that safety and security? How does it help promote safety and security to not pay the very border patrol agents charged with protecting the border?" Kaine asked.

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Trump said Friday neither he nor Republicans will give in on the issue.

"Never seen the Republican Party so unified. No "Cave" on the issue of Border and National Security," he tweeted. "A beautiful thing to see, especially when you hear the new rhetoric spewing from the mouths of the Democrats who talk Open Border, High Taxes and Crime. Stop Criminals & Drugs now!"

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