The government has been shut down for 28 days, as of Friday.
It was 15 days ago when Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) appeared on Next with Kyle Clark and said he was willing to vote to reopen the government without border wall funding.
Yet today, a national political group, that doesn't have to disclose where it gets its contributions from, has put out a political ad that pretends Gardner never said that.
First, let's get through the brief claims in the ad.
CLAIM: "It's the longest government shutdown in history."
This is the 21st government shutdown. As of Jan. 18 it is on day 28. The previous longest shutdown was 21 days in 1995-96.
CLAIM: "800,000 workers furloughed or working without being paid."
CLAIM: "Food safety inspections stopped nationwide."
VERDICT: No longer true.
Most food safety inspections stopped, but the Food and Drug Administration never stopped screening food and medical products imported to the U.S.
On Monday, the head of the FDA tweeted that furloughed workers would be coming back to begin inspections of high-risk food facilities. High-risk foods meaning fresh produce and cheese and other dairy products.
CLAIM: "And pilots have warned our air security is now at risk."
VERDICT: It's true that a pilots union wrote the President a letter warning about the risk, security hasn't changed at Denver International Airport.
DIA has continued to have all security checkpoints open even though TSA workers are not getting paid.
CLAIM: "And where is Cory Gardner? He pretends to be independent, but he sides with party leaders who refuse to even allow a vote to reopen the government."
VERDICT: This is wrong.
It's probably wrong because he broke from party leaders when he told Next on Jan. 3 that he was willing to reopen the government without border wall funding.
"I don't think shutting down the government is the right way to do this, 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," Gardner said on Jan. 3.
CLAIM: "Tell Cory Gardner, put Colorado over party and demand an end to the shutdown."
VERDICT: There is no real claim here, but let's talk about Gardner's power to solely demand an end to the shutdown.
To explain this, we need to look back at Dec. 18, 2018, when Gardner tried to get a marijuana banking amendment discussed on the Senate floor.
"I'd ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending amendment and call up amendment number 4123," said Gardner.
"Is there objection?" asked Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who was presiding over the Senate.
"I'm reserving the right to object," said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
Gardner's attempt to use "unanimous consent" failed.
Any Senator -- Cory Gardner or Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colorado) -- have the power to call for "unanimous consent" to move to something else. That something else could be a vote on a bill to end the shutdown, assuming the House has already approved one.
That unanimous consent request requires all 100 senators to say yes. If even one says no, like Grassley in the marijuana banking example, it doesn't happen.
Gardner, and even Bennet, does not have the power to force a vote or even call the Senate back into session.
That's Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's call.
BOTTOM LINE: The ad is accurate in the number of federal workers who are furloughed or out of work, but it uses old information to scare viewers about the safety of our food. It also uses a union's letter to suggest that air safety is at risk, without mentioning that TSA is still working and in cases, like DIA, keeping all checkpoints open.
The ad misrepresents where Gardner is compared to his party. It's not like Gardner is preventing a vote from happening. However, if there a bill sent to the Senate from the House, and the Senate is in session, Gardner could ask for unanimous consent to call for a vote. We're not there yet.