'We Should Do Our Jobs and Get the Government Open': GOP Senator Wants Congress to End Shutdown Without Deal for Trump's Wall

Cory Gardner became the first Republican senator to suggest the government should end the partial shutdown if it doesn't reach an agreement on funding for President Donald Trump's southern border wall.

The shutdown entered its 14th day on Friday, having begun shortly before Christmas, following failure by the House and the Senate to reach an agreement on funding for Trump's proposed border wall. The shutdown has resulted in the closing of a number of federal agencies and has become a major topic of centention between Republicans and Democrats.

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When the shutdown began two weeks ago, Trump warned it could be "very long," but Gardner said it was time for Congress to reopen federal government even without a deal. The proposed border wall would cost approximately $5 billion, and the Colorado senator, who is up for re-election next year, suggested Democrats would be forced to explain "why they no longer support border security."

Last year, all but five Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Committee voted in favour of a homeland security bill that included $1.6 billion to be spent on border fencing. However, the committee then amended the proposal, suggesting $1.3 billion should be allocated toward border fencing, the same amount spent in 2018.

"I think we should pass a continuing resolution to get the government back open," Gardner was quoted as saying by The Hill. "The Senate has done it last Congress, we should do it again today. 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."

On Thursday, the Democrats officially took control of the House, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted it was up to Trump to end the shutdown. "We are asking the president to open up government," she said, while speaking to the media after congressional leaders met with Trump behind closed doors in the White House's Situation Room. "We are giving him a Republican path to do that. Why would he not do it?"

On the same day, House Democrats approved a spending package to reopen partially closed government agencies. The bill, which will keep funding for the Department of Homeland Security at current levels through to February 8, passed 239-192. Crucially, the plan does not include any funding for Trump's border wall.

A separate bill aimed at ensuring continued funding for the Departments of Agriculture and Interior and other agencies until September 30 at least, passed 241-190.

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Cory Gardner, a Republican from Colorado, listens during a Commission on Security and Cooperation hearing on Capitol Hill, February 28, 2018, in Washington, D.C. Cory Gardner became the first Republican senator to suggest the government should end the partial shutdown if it doesn’t reach an agreement on funding for President Donald Trump’s southern border wall. Drew Angerer/Getty Images