Republican Senators Cory Gardner (CO) and Susan Collins (ME) have announced they would support reopening the federal government without President Donald Trump’s desired $5 billion funding for his proposed border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
BREAKING: Republican Senator Susan Collins just announced her support for the House bill to reopen the government, without any funding for a border wall. She is the second Republican to do so. Senator Cory Gardner is the other.
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) January 4, 2019
“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,” Gardner said, adding that Congress “can pass legislation that has the appropriations number in it [$1.6 billion] while we continue to get more but we should continue to do our jobs and get the government open.”
Collins herself announced she is co-sponsoring a bill that would help protect government workers during shutdowns. The Government Employee Fair Treatment Act would guarantee that furloughed federal employees will be paid retroactively and that employees will be paid as soon as possible once a shutdown ends.
Shutdowns represent a failure to govern & harm those who interact with the closed agencies as well as federal employees & their families. As we work to end this shutdown, @SenatorCardin & I introduced a bill to ensure these civil servants are paid.
— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) January 4, 2019
Response to these calls has been mixed. Both Gardner and Collins are up for re-election. Last year, many promised to oppose Collins in particular after she voted to confirm Associate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh despite the allegations of sexual assault brought against him by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a former high school classmate.
Cory Gardner just remembered he's up for re-election. https://t.co/HEFpkmEJ2k
— WaRrEn 2o2o (@Ben_R_Sci) January 3, 2019
YOU represent a failure to govern with YOUR lack of independence from the Executive branch. The GOP had 2 years to find funding to the build “The Wall” & all of a sudden it has become urgent enough to shutdown the government? YOU and the rest of the GOP own this mess. #DonTheCon
— Cypersun (@cypersun) January 4, 2019
Vulnerable GOP senators feeling heat from the #TrumpShutdown. Note to @SenCoryGardner, @SenatorCollins, @SenThomTillis, @SenMcSallyAZ & others: You should fear your constituents more than you fear Trump. End this hurtful shutdown now. https://t.co/Z1sYKNPeGU
— Barbara Boxer (@BarbaraBoxer) January 4, 2019
Trump summons @SenatorCollins :
Trump, "You seriously gonna vote against me on this shutdown thing?"
Susan, "Oh no sir I just say stuff like that for the headline to seem independent, but I always vote with you and party."
Trump, "Ohh, like the Kavanaugh thing?"
— Fred B (@fred_belford) January 4, 2019
The shutdown is the fourth longest in U.S. history, and there is no end in sight, despite assurances from Democrats that they will pass funding bills as soon as they take office. The inauguration of the 116th Congress today marks the first time ever that a federal shutdown will extend into two different Congresses.