Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, joined calls today to reopen the rest of the federal government before the funding fight over the border wall is resolved.
“I am one who is amendable to a process that would allow for those appropriations bills that have concluded some time ago that they be enacted into law — whether it’s the Department of Interior or the IRS. I’d like to see that," she said.
Murkowski said she supports a legislative package made up of six full-year spending bills to reopen other shuttered parts of the federal government.
“I am supportive of a process that is going to allow us to get these six bills through and if we need need to do something with homeland ... let’s do that. But I think we can walk and chew gum," she said.
Senate Democrats blocked action on a bill unrelated to the ongoing government shutdown Tuesday, in protest of President Donald Trump’s demands to fund a controversial border wall with Mexico in exchange for reopening the agencies.
The move escalated an already tense situation between the parties as Democrats weighed whether to extend their objections to all legislation until the impasse is broken, something that could cripple the chamber and add to the dysfunction in the nation’s capital.
The vote — the first roll call of the new session — came on a package of bipartisan bills related to US support for Israel and Jordan and new sanctions against the Syrian regime. Needing 60 votes to break a filibuster, the motion was defeated 56-44.
Three Democrats from red states voted with Republicans:
- Alabama Sen. Doug Jones
- Arizona Sen. Krysten Sinema
- West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin
They were joined by a fourth Democrat, foreign relations ranking member Bob Menendez, in voting yes.
Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he is going to support the Mitch McConnell’s position when it comes to not bringing up any of the appropriations bills from the House this week.
It’s getting harder and harder for some Republicans to take the heat on the government shutdown and the House is expected to pass individual appropriations bills this week that the Senate already supported. But Shelby said he supports McConnell’s decision not to bring them up.
He said it would be “futile” to put bills on the floor that won’t get President Trump’s signature.
“I guess it's optics versus substance," Shelby said.
Asked if he would support Trump declaring a national emergency for funding for the wall, Shelby said, "I don’t know we will have to wait and see what he has to say about it."
“Let’s be honest. The shutdown is not nice," the Alabama lawmaker said. “It’s a partial shutdown, but it’s about a total of 800,000 workers and a lot of ‘em are going to be without paychecks soon and we need to do everything we can to do our job and do it on time.”
Excessive absences by TSA officers currently working without pay have "adversly impacted security operations" at a southern California airport, a high-ranking Transportation Security Administration official wrote Monday in an internal email obtained by CNN.
The email from Martin Elam, the deputy federal security director overseeing overseeing five California airports, directed to all TSA personnel at Palm Springs International Airport, exposes for the first time an acknowledgement that the partial government shutdown -- now stretching into a third week -- is having some impact on aviation security in at least one airport.
President Trump will attend the Senate Republican lunch Wednesday before heading back to the White House to meet with a group of bipartisan congressional leaders, two sources said.
Vice President Mike Pence was already scheduled to go to the lunch, but now Trump will pay a visit as well.
This comes as GOP congressional leaders in the last 24 hours have urged the Trump administration to increase outreach to their rank-and-file members.
A congressional group of eight leaders will meet at the White House on Wednesday afternoon, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted Democrats this afternoon for engaging in partisanship politics rather than working on a deal to reopen the government.
McConnell, speaking from the Senate floor, said Democrats are only objecting to the border wall because President Trump is in office.
"It’s just political spite — a partisan tantrum being prioritized over the public interest. So, for more than two weeks they’ve indulged in that partisan tantrum rather than negotiate in good faith over border security funding," he said.
McConnell went on to criticize Democrats for “threatening to shut the Senate down” in protest of the government shutdown.
President Trump is not expected to declare a national emergency in his speech this evening, three sources familiar with the matter told CNN. Instead, the President will focus on making his case to the public about why the situation on the southern border is a "crisis" and why a wall is necessary.
That doesn't mean it won't happen in the future. However, the President could change his mind as speechwriters make last minute changes. And Trump hasn’t closed the door to declaring a national emergency if negotiations continue to stall.
The sources said Trump is still focused on winning the public relations battle, believing he can turn up the heat on Democrats by convincing more of the country that a wall is necessary, the sources said.
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin announced today that he plans to donate his salary to food banks in his home state during the shutdown.
"If Congress cannot do our job, we should not get paid. As a result of this reckless shutdown, 340,000 West Virginians who depend on food stamps will go without that critical assistance. Children will go hungry, pregnant mothers will not get the nutrients they need and our elderly neighbors will not have dinner on the table. This is unacceptable,” the Democratic lawmaker said in a statement.
Where things stand: Food assistance programs could be impacted by the shutdown. Funding for food stamps, school lunches and nutrition for pregnant women and young children is expected to run out next month if the partial government shutdown isn't resolved, experts say.