Senators look for possible way to end shutdown

GOP senators are working with several Democrats on a letter to send to the White House to call for “serious negotiating” to end the partial government shutdown, Ohio Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanMcConnell locks down key GOP votes in Supreme Court fight Romney undecided on authorizing subpoenas for GOP Obama-era probes Congress needs to prioritize government digital service delivery MORE (R) told reporters on Wednesday.

One possibility is for the letter to call for the government to be re-opened for three weeks to allow for talks on border security.

But senators have not agreed on the contents of the letter yet.

“There's a frustration on the part of a lot of members because a lot of us came in to get things done and we find ourselves in a position where there are two sides that are saying absolutely we will not agree on anything,” Sen. Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by JobsOhio - Trump's tax return bombshell Fears grow of chaotic election Democrats call for declassifying election threats after briefing by Trump officials MORE (R-S.D.), one of the senators involved in the talks, said Wednesday.

He said he may sign on to a letter with “some alternatives” that Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGOP seeks to redirect criticism over Trump tax returns House rebuffs GOP lawmaker's effort to remove references to Democrats in Capitol Grassley says disclosing Trump's tax records without authorization could violate law MORE (D-Calif.) and President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Trump-Biden debate clash The Memo: Debate or debacle? Democrats rip Trump for not condemning white supremacists, Proud Boys at debate MORE “could consider.”

One letter “right now that I'm considering that would say open the government for three weeks but with a firm commitment from a number of members on both sides that they would seek to find common ground in an expedited fashion — that would respect the president’s demand for border security and barriers — and, at the same time do it in an expedited fashion,” Rounds said.

A number of senators have expressed frustration at the continued shutdown, which is in its 26th day.

“Shutdowns are never a good idea – they are not justified for any reason at all – I am sympathetic to strengthening our security at the border – but shutting down the government is not the way to achieve that goal,” Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate Democrats want to avoid Kavanaugh 2.0 Trump's Teflon problem: Nothing sticks, including the 'wins' Durbin: Democrats can 'slow' Supreme Court confirmation 'perhaps a matter of hours, maybe days at most' MORE (R-Maine) said after a meeting with Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiEnergy innovation bill can deliver jobs and climate progress Durbin: Democrats can 'slow' Supreme Court confirmation 'perhaps a matter of hours, maybe days at most' Senate GOP set to vote on Trump's Supreme Court pick before election MORE (R-Ak.).

—Molly K. Hooper