McConnell accuses Democrats of throwing 'partisan tantrum' over shutdown

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While announcing the legislation, Gibbs and his co-sponsors laid the blame for the shutdown squarely on the shoulders of their Democratic colleagues.

The bipartisan package backed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had initially drawn widespread support ahead of Tuesday's vote.

The bill called Strengthening America's Security in the Middle East Act seeks to target Syria and its allies - Russian Federation and Iran - with new sanctions as well as to boost U.S. security cooperation with Israel and Jordan. The Kentucky Republican has said he will not move any legislation to reopen the government that Trump has not agreed to sign, but some in his conference are hoping he'll change his mind. And he's still threatening to declare a national emergency to circumvent Congress if he can't get the wall money from them.

The bills were proposed on Tuesday amid speculation that Republicans could start to crack under the pressure of a shutdown that would be the longest on record if it continues into Saturday.

Democratic leaders are engrossed in a legislative drive to reopen government agencies that have been closed since Dec 22 over Trump's demand for US$5.7 billion to fund a wall along the U.S. -Mexico border.

But some Republicans are using the Israel angle as a wedge issue.

A pro-Israel advocate says it's unfortunate that a bill aimed at stopping boycotts against Israel is stalled in the Senate.

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Schumer often claims - particularly before Jewish audiences - that he is Israel's "guardian" in Washington.

Schumer, who together with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will rebut Trump's wall speech, was not biting.

Ultimately, the issue is not the shutdown, but an insecure Democratic leadership seemingly unable to control a growing minority of anti-Semites among its ranks who refuse to acknowledge the critical importance of Israel to American interests.

With a handful of Republicans in both the House and Senate already having broken with the administration strategy of keeping the government partially shut while fighting over the wall, House Democrats' approach of bringing up individual spending bills could serve to further divide the GOP as the shutdown drags on. Rubio, "Really risky to play politics [with] support for Israel".

"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.

If passed, S.1-which is sponsored by Sen.

Controversially, the fourth measure, titled the Combating BDS Act, would allow U.S. states and localities to retaliate commercially against companies or individuals supporting boycott, divestment or sanction campaigns aimed at Israel. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told senators he doubted there would be 60 votes on the cloture motion and expressed bewilderment that the Senate isn't dealing with any of the "urgent issues" the country faces, despite the shutdown that began December 22, 2018, and enters its 19th day on January 9. "He has clearly made a political calculation". Ben Cardin's office emailed Cardin's official comment: "We should not stand idle when foreign countries or global governmental organizations use BDS tactics to isolate one of our key allies and bypass direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians". Brooks said it was the Democrats who were "playing politics".

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