Alaska’s U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski today called for Congress to bring an end to the partial government shutdown and take up President Donald J. Trump’s demands for “border security” as part of a separate debate.
Without specifically mentioning the wall, Murkowski told reporters that she supports a bipartisan end to the partial government shutdown that’s stretching into its 19th day without tying it to Trump’s “significant priority for border security.”
“I think it’s important that we do our business around here,” she said in a clip shared to her official Twitter account, noting that the Senate had already passed funding bills in 2018.
“So let’s get them done and we can also then focus on the president’s significant priority for border security, ensuring that we’ve got protections at the border, ensuring that we’re doing more to secure our ports of entry, addressing the humanitarian issues along the border and elsewhere,” she said. “We can do that, but we don’t need to hold up these six other departments at the same time that we’re resolving these very important security issues.”
Trump has refused to budge from his demands for $5.7 billion for some variation of a wall on the Mexico border, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to bring up government funding legislation (including ones that have already been passed by the Senate) until he knows Trump will sign them. Democrats, who have taken over the House since the shutdown began, have refused to fund the wall (though they previously offered support for some wall funding) leaving the partial federal government in a protracted stalemate.
Trump has entertained the possibility of building the wall through emergency order, utilizing funding for the military for the project (which he had promised voters he would make Mexico pay for).
Murkowski has also been critical of that proposal.
“So I have very serious concerns about why we would be seeking to take funding from those accounts that we have already identified as enhancing our national security,” she told Alaska Public Media.
Some federal employees, like TSA’s airport security, have continued to work under the shutdown and will miss their first paycheck if a deal to end the shutdown isn’t reached by Friday. Alaska has one of the highest concentrations of federal employees per capita.
Why it matters
Murkowski’s support for a bipartisan end to the shutdown not only bolsters the votes for a funding package, but it also raises the possibility that such a funding package could be passed with a veto-proof majority.
Count Alaska’s U.S. Rep. Don Young among the Republicans who could help build a veto-proof majority in the House. The Dean of the House told Alaska Public Media reporter Liz Ruskin that he’ll “probably” vote with Democrats to pass the six spending bills needed to end the shutdown.
How does it end? @repdonyoung says he’ll “probably” vote w Dems to pass 6 spending bills this week. If enough Rs cross over, it raises the White House’s “biggest fear”: a veto override in House. “And that could happen. So I think that compromise will come forth.”
— Liz Ruskin (@lruskin) January 9, 2019