Republican Sen. Cory Gardner (Colo.) became the first senator in his party to call for an end to the partial government shutdown, even if President Donald Trump doesn’t get funding for his border wall.
“I think we should pass a continuing resolution to get the government back open,” Gardner told The Hill in an article published Thursday. “The Senate has done it last Congress, we should do it again today.”
The shutdown began last month and is now in its 13th day with no end in sight. Newly-elected Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) plans to push through legislation to reopen the government now that Democrats control the House, but Republicans who control the Senate said they won’t consider the measure because it doesn’t include Trump’s demands for $5.6 billion in funding for his wall.
The president has remained steadfast in his demands, telling Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) in a meeting Wednesday that he would not back down. “I would look foolish if I did that,” Trump reportedly said, according to The New York Times, saying he was elected because of his promise to build a border wall.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) suggested this week the shutdown could last for weeks more, saying he won’t consider any bill that doesn’t already have the president’s approval.
“As I said for the last few weeks, the Senate will be glad to vote on a measure that the House passes that the president will sign,” McConnell said. “But we’re not going to vote on anything else.”
Gardner told The Hill that if Congress passes legislation to reopen the government, it will force Democrats to explain why they won’t fund Trump’s border wall, a signature campaign pledge that remains popular with his core supporters.
Gardner is up for re-election in Colorado in 2020 and is considered particularly vulnerable after Democrat Hillary Clinton carried the state by about 5 points in the last presidential election.
“We can pass legislation that has the appropriations number in it while we continue to get more but we should continue to do our jobs and get the government open,” he told The Hill.