Senate

Six GOP senators vote to end shutdown without wall funding

Six Republican senators crossed the aisle on Thursday to vote with Democrats and advance a stopgap measure that would end the partial government shutdown without additional funding for President Trump’s proposed border wall.

GOP Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Susan Collins (Maine), Cory Gardner (Colo.), Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mitt Romney (Utah) voted to advance the continuing resolution, which would have fully reopened the government and funded it through Feb. 8. 

The measure fell short of the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster.

{mosads}The 52-44 vote in support of reopening the government without additional funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall is a major blow to Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

The Senate also rejected a Trump-backed proposal on Thursday that included $5.7 billion for a border wall. That 50-47 vote also fell short of the 60 needed to advance.

Roughly a quarter of the federal government has been closed since Dec. 22 amid an entrenched fight over funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall. Approximately 800,000 federal workers have been furloughed or forced to work without pay in the 34 days since the shutdown began. Those workers are poised to miss their second paycheck Friday.

The Democratic proposal would reopen the quarter of the government that has been shuttered and fund it through Feb. 8. It does not include additional funding for the U.S.-Mexico border wall, as demanded by Trump.

Democrats were expected to pick up some GOP defectors on their proposal. Collins and Murkowski both indicated on Wednesday that they would support it, and Gardner’s staff told The Denver Post that he would also support the short-term funding bill.

“I voted in favor of the President’s proposed compromise, which would have achieved both goals,” Romney said in a statement following the vote. “When that measure failed, I also voted for an alternative proposal that would open the government and give the Democrats two weeks to put up or shut up — come to the table and agree to a final deal on border security and enforcement.”

Isakson, speaking from the Senate floor after the votes, said it was time for the Senate to “do some business.”

“All Democrats and Republicans pay close attention. I’ve been here 20 years. I’ve seen a lot of shutdowns, about five of them. I want to talk about what they produced. The first one under Bill Clinton produced Monica Lewinsky, she was an intern in the White House and idle hands are never good,” he said.

In a statement following the vote, Alexander said he voted twice to reopen the government, arguing that it was “wrong for either side” to use shutdowns “as a bargaining chip.”

“I voted twice today to open the government because it should never have been shut down,” he said. “It is always wrong for either side to use shutting down the government as a bargaining chip in budget negotiations — it should be as off-limits as chemical weapons are to warfare.”

Alexander has previously backed the Senate taking up a continuing resolution to give lawmakers more time to work out a deal.

“We ought to take the president’s request, immediately consider it … add to it whatever we need to do to get a result, send it to him, sign it and in the meantime open the government up,” Alexander told WREC, a Tennessee radio station, earlier this month.

Alexander acknowledged that the idea of reopening the government for roughly three weeks wouldn’t gain traction without Trump’s support, adding, “I’m hoping the president changes his mind. This is the way you get a result.”

Updated at 4:55 p.m.

Tags Bill Clinton Cory Gardner Donald Trump Johnny Isakson Lamar Alexander Lisa Murkowski Mitch McConnell Mitt Romney Susan Collins

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