Gardner breaks ranks, calls on Congress to end shutdown without border deal

National/World News

Sen. Cory Gardner

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WASHINGTON -- Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner said Thursday that Congress should reopen the federal government even without a deal on funding for the border wall that President Donald Trump is seeking.

Gardner is the first Senate Republican to break ranks with the president and his party colleagues in calling for an end to the partial shutdown.

Trump is demanding $5 billion to fund a border wall. The partial shutdown began nearly two weeks ago.

"This is some of the disappointments the people of Colorado have with Washington, D.C., a place that doesn't seem to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time," Gardner said Friday.

"I believe we can fund border security at the same time and keep the government open. I don't think shutting down the government is a good idea. ... This to me is a no-brainer. ... Let's make the government function and address border security."

The 116th Congress convened on Thursday with Democrats taking control of the House. On Thursday night, the House passed a plan to reopen the government without funding the wall.

Democrats have vowed to not give Trump the $5 billion he is demanding for wall funding.

"I think the president is right to continue to fight for more border security," Gardner said. "Just a few months ago, Republicans and Democrats overwhelmingly agreed to $25 billion in border security funding. ... I don't understand why people changed their minds to support less than one-fifth of that.

"A government shutdown is not the right way to do this. Let's fund both. Let's make sure we get this done."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says he will not schedule a vote on a clean stopgap funding measure to reopen the government without Trump signing off on it.

Gardner, who is up for re-election in 2020, said the shutdown is affecting agriculture, public lands and the numerous federal employees who work in Colorado.

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