As the partial government shutdown drags on in its third week, some GOP senators have begun to lose patience and are now calling for reopening the government.
A number of Senate Republicans have indicated that they are becoming anxious about the long-term impact of a partial shutdown which has already affected 800,000 federal employees and contractors. Some of them have even suggested that they would allow some key federal agencies to reopen without resolving the border wall funding issue.
“I think we can walk and chew gum,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski on Tuesday before noting that she is also “amenable 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.”
Other Republicans have shown little enthusiasm for backing President Donald Trump’s hardline stance upheld by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and their support is likely to end soon.
“There’s a time when that may run out,” Senator Johnny Isakson said of support for McConnell’s refusal to back spending bills that lack Trump’s support.
Last week, House Democrats passed six full-year spending bills to reopen federal agencies impacted by the shutdown as well as a stopgap bill for the Department of Homeland Security, but President Trump refuses to sign those bills and reopen federal agencies unless he gets the $5.7 billion in border wall funding.
Murkowski, meanwhile, expressed support for the six bills, saying, “I am supportive of a process that is going to allow us to get these six bills through and if we need … to do something different with Homeland … then let’s do that.”
Republican Senators Cory Gardner and Susan Collins, who are both for reelection in 2020, have signaled they would support ending the shutdown even without the demanded funding. Others as well have indicated they were on board with allowing specific federal agencies to open, stressing that the shutdown was not good for anyone.