Bipartisan Group of Senators Pushes for Trump to Reopen Government

Bipartisan Group of Senators Pushes for Trump to Reopen Government

© Jim Bourg / Reuters

A bipartisan group of senators is urging President Trump to agree to a three-week stopgap funding measure that would end the government shutdown, now heading for its 27th day, while they negotiate a deal on border security funding. “We commit to working to advance legislation that can pass the Senate with substantial bipartisan support,” the senators said in their own letter to the president. “During those three weeks, we will make our best efforts following regular order in the appropriate committees and mark up bipartisan legislation relating to your request.”

Trump had previously shot down that suggestion, insisting that he wouldn’t accept a deal to reopen the government without an agreement on wall funding, and White House officials were pressing Republican senators to not sign the new letter, The Washington Post reported. The senators behind the plan, led by Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Chris Coons (D-DE), are likely to fall short of their goal of getting as many as 20 senators from each party to sign on, Politico reported. The other senators on board so far include Republicans Lamar Alexander (TN), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rob Portman (R-OH) along with Democrats Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ).

"You know when that’s going to happen?” Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) said of the effort to get the president to reopen the government. “When you look outside your window and see donkeys fly.”

Trump on Wednesday met at the White House with a different bipartisan group of lawmakers, the “Problem Solvers” caucus — a group Politico described as both “not empowered to make a deal” and “probably the group least representative of where most Republicans and Democrats are at the moment.”

The White House called the meeting “constructive” and the Democratic lawmakers said in a statement that they “look forward to continuing this conversation,” but they also made clear that they were sticking with Pelosi and the rest of their party in asking that the government be reopened for negotiations to begin.

The bottom line: We’re running out of ways to say there’s no real progress toward ending a shutdown.