The Republican majority in the US Senate has blocked two package bills earlier adopted by the House of Representatives that would have allowed for the resumption of operations of most US departments and agencies through 30 September 2019. One of the bills included a stopgap budget for the Department of Homeland Security, allowing it to function until 8 February 2019.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the bills are something that "doesn't lead to an outcome". He has previously repeatedly warned that he would not allow the bills, which are aimed at ending the record long government shutdown, to pass unless they contain funding for the construction of a border wall with Mexico.
"The solution to this is a negotiation between the one person in the country who can sign something into law, the president of the United States, and our Democratic colleagues", he said on 15 January.
That same day, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that the Democrats had turned down the latest invitation to meet with the president in order to negotiate a deal on ending the shutdown. Trump himself has repeatedly slammed Democratic leaders over "having fun" outside of Washington and continuing to receive their pay, while ordinary US government employees are either on furlough or working without pay.
The US government is currently experiencing the longest shutdown in its history, which started on 22 December after Democrats and Republicans failed to negotiate a 2019 budget due to disagreements over the border wall. US President Donald Trump has on numerous occasions pointed out that funding for the wall must be included in the budget bill in order to be signed by him.