Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urges Senate to approve wall funding

WASHINGTON — The Senate has begun a procedural vote to take up a House-passed bill that would pay for President Donald Trump’s border wall and avert a partial government shutdown.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged approval of the bill, which includes $5.7 billion President Trump wants for the southern border with Mexico.

McConnell says the bill is neither “radical” nor difficult to explain. Instead he said it addresses a crisis at the border that includes illegal drug smuggling and increased apprehensions of people trying to cross illegally into the U.S. from Mexico.

McConnell, who met with President Trump Friday at the White House, said in a Senate speech that “this legislation would be quite uncontroversial in a more normal political moment.”

He blamed “far-left” Democrats for opposing the spending package approved by House Republicans and supported by President Trump.

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