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 PortmanCost for last three government shutdowns estimated at billion The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation 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 Rounds'Mike Pounce' trends on Twitter after Trump slip at GOP retreat Conservatives offer stark warning to Trump, GOP on background checks Trump officials vow to reform Fannie, Freddie if Congress doesn't act 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 PelosiPelosi: Democrats will 'certainly' beat Trump in 2020 Kavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw Lewandowski, Democrats tangle at testy hearing MORE (D-Calif.) and President TrumpDonald John TrumpJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency White House fires DHS general counsel: report Trump to cap California trip with visit to the border 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 CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Congress passes bill to begin scenic byways renaissance MORE (R-Maine) said after a meeting with Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiKavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw McConnell lashes out at Democrats over 'unhinged' criticism of Kavanaugh The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE (R-Ak.).

—Molly K. Hooper