GOP senator calls on Congress to end shutdown without border deal

Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerConservation remains a core conservative principle How to stand out in the crowd: Kirsten Gillibrand needs to find her niche Overnight Defense: Trump to reverse North Korea sanctions imposed by Treasury | Move sparks confusion | White House says all ISIS territory in Syria retaken | US-backed forces report heavy fighting | Two US troops killed in Afghanistan MORE (R-Colo.), who faces a potentially tough reelection in 2020, says Congress should re-open the federal government, even without a deal on funding President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: 'Haven't thought about' pardons for Mueller target Pence: Rocket attack 'proves that Hamas is not a partner for peace' Conservation remains a core conservative principle MORE’s border wall. 

Gardner is the first Senate Republican to call for ending the partial shutdown even without a deal on Trump’s demand for $5 billion to fund a border wall. 

“I think we should pass a continuing resolution to get the government back open. The Senate has done it last Congress, we should do it again today,” he said. 

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Gardner says the onus will then be on Democrats to explain why they don’t support more money for border security after they voted to spend an additional $46 billion on the border in 2013. 

All but five Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Committee last year voted for a homeland security funding bill that allocated $1.6 billion for border fencing. Democratic leaders have since retrenched their offer, proposing $1.3 billion — the same amount Congress appropriated for fiscal 2018 — for border fencing. 

“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,” Gardner said, referring to the funding number for border fencing that Democrats have already agreed to. 

Gardner said negotiations on Trump’s border wall can continue once federal agencies are reopened and Republicans can “let Democrats explain why they no longer support border security.” 

Parts of the government have been closed since Dec. 22 after Democrats rejected Trump’s demand for $5 billion in wall funding.

The Senate passed a stopgap measure to keep the government open until Feb. 8. It kept funding for border fencing flat at the 2018 level. 

The House, however, did not act on that bill, and instead passed a measure that included $5.7 billion in funding for the wall and border security. Democrats objected to that measure in the Senate.  

Gardner is up for reelection in 2020 in a state Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGraham: McCain 'acted appropriately' by handing Steele dossier to FBI Why Mueller's hedge on obstruction decision was a mistake Giuliani says news media treat Dems better than GOP MORE won by 5 points in 2016. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump, Dems eye next stage in Mueller fight House Oversight Dem wants Trump to release taxes and 'get it over with' Senate rejection of Green New Deal won't slow Americans' desire for climate action MORE (R-Ky.) says he will not schedule a vote on a clean stopgap funding measure to re-open federal agencies without prior sign-off from the president. 

He said a spending package that House Democrats plan to approve later on Thursday is “not a serious contribution to the negotiations” because “it isn’t comprehensive” and “it ignores the needs of border security.”

The two bills include one package of six appropriations bills that would provide funding for covered agencies through the fiscal year, and a separate stopgap that would fund the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 8.

“The six bills are the same bills that Republicans, including Leader McConnell, supported in the Senate Appropriations Committee,” Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis Schumer4 in 5 Americans say they support net neutrality: poll GOP senator: Trump's criticism of McCain 'deplorable' Schumer to introduce bill naming Senate office building after McCain amid Trump uproar MORE (N.Y.) noted on the Senate floor Wednesday.