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 PortmanGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats Steel lobby's PR blitz can't paper over damaging effects of tariffs Trade official warns senators of obstacles to quick China deal 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 RoundsGOP senator: Trump thinks funding deal is 'thin gruel' Lawmakers put Pentagon's cyber in their sights Endorsing Trump isn’t the easiest decision for some Republicans 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 Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiDonald Trump proved himself by winning fight for border security Trump should beware the 'clawback' Congress The national emergency will haunt Republicans come election season MORE (D-Calif.) and President TrumpDonald John TrumpRosenstein expected to leave DOJ next month: reports Allies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump States file lawsuit seeking to block Trump's national emergency declaration 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 CollinsGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats On unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 Congress must step up to protect Medicare home health care MORE (R-Maine) said after a meeting with Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOn unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Trump escalates border fight with emergency declaration On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week MORE (R-Ak.).

—Molly K. Hooper