House Democrats passed a bill yesterday to fund the IRS, although Senate Republicans have said they won’t consider any funding bill until a consensus is reached to reopen the entire government.
The bill to reopen the Treasury Department ahead of this year’s tax-filing season passed the House on a 240-188 vote with eight Republicans breaking ranks to vote in favor of the bill. About 12 percent of the IRS’s employees are working without pay during the shutdown.
The shutdown is now nearly three weeks old, and President Trump and congressional Democrats are all looking for leverage in the impasse over funding Trump’s long-promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump traveled to Texas today for a briefing at the border and has said he “probably” will declare a national emergency and direct the military to build the wall unless Democrats concede to his funding demands. Trump is demanding $5.7 billion to build the wall.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said today that funding a wall is “not the best way to protect our borders,” and said she suspects President Trump “loves the distraction that this is from his other problems.”
Pelosi said the House will continue to vote on bills to reopen shuttered agencies even though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has characterized the Democratic strategy as “pointless.”
“This will not produce a result,” McConnell said. “It won’t solve the problem because the president has made clear he won’t sign them.”