Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) is breaking with President Trump on the government shutdown.
Gardner publicly called for an end to the shutdown on Thursday, without funding for Pres. Trump’s border wall.
“I don’t think shutting down the government is the right way to do this,” he told Next with Kyle Clark. “So let’s fund the border - let’s fund border security, but let’s do so while making sure the government is operating for the people of this country.”
The shutdown began Dec. 22. The House, which was controlled by Democrats as of Thursday morning, passed spending bills that night that could re-open the federal government. Neither can become law without Senate approval. While that’s unlikely, Gardner said earlier in the day that he’d personally support such legislation.
“I continue to support funding for border security. The Senate passed measure has over a billion dollars in it for border security. I believe what Nancy Pelosi has proposed would also do that,” he said Thursday afternoon. “So I hope that we can continue to fight for additional border security dollars, that’s what we need to do, but I don’t think shutting down the government is the right way to do it.”
The Hill reports that Gardner, who faces a tough re-election in 2020, was the first Senate Republican to come out in favor of ending the shutdown without the $5 billion the president wants for a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. The senator told Next he hadn’t discussed his stance with his Republican colleagues, some of whom have shut down two of Gardner’s recent measures.
Gardner’s colleague in Colorado, Sen. Michael Bennet (D), has blamed Pres. Trump for the shutdown on Twitter – which included one Tweet on Tuesday that seemed to overinflate the monetary impact the shutdown has had on Colorado. Early on the in shutdown, Bennet tweeted: “Keeping the government open should not depend on the President’s demand for U.S. taxpayers to fund an ineffective and wasteful border wall.”
When asked about his opinion on a border wall, Gardner told Next he wants to provide what border security agents say they need.
“Border patrol has said this - they need physical barriers, they need electronic barriers, they need more roads they need more judges. Just several months ago Senator Bennet and I introduced bipartisan legislation that called for $25 billion in funding that would’ve provided funding for such needs, for such projects,” Gardner said.
“So I do think we need to listen to the professionals, border security agencies, to provide what they need. And so where it makes sense, let’s move forward with it. Where it doesn’t, let’s use other means. I do think we need border security, but it seems strange to me that some have changed their mind from just a few months ago,” he said, referencing Democrats who he believes have flip-flopped on their opinion of border security.