And the first crack in, well, the GOP wall, emerge as Colorado GOP Sen. Cory Gardner immediately finds himself in the 2020 hotseat.
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who faces a potentially tough reelection in 2020, says Congress should re-open the federal government, even without a deal on funding President Trump’s border wall.
Gardner is the first Senate Republican to call for ending the partial shutdown even without a deal on Trump’s demand for $5 billion to fund a border wall.
“I think we should pass a continuing resolution to get the government back open. The Senate has done it last Congress, we should do it again today,” he said.
Gardner says the onus will then be on Democrats to explain why they don’t support more money for border security after they voted to spend an additional $46 billion on the border in 2013.
All but five Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Committee last year voted for a homeland security funding bill that allocated $1.6 billion for border fencing. Democratic leaders have since retrenched their offer, proposing $1.3 billion — the same amount Congress appropriated for fiscal 2018 — for border fencing.
“We can pass legislation that has the appropriations number in it while we continue to get more but we should continue to do our jobs and get the government open,” Gardner said, referring to the funding number for border fencing that Democrats have already agreed to.
Between Gardner and Mitt Romney, with Rand Paul's usual antics thrown in, it's important to remember that Republicans can only afford three defections in the 116th Senate. That means Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski are going to have some competition, especially Collins, who like Gardener, has a tough re-election fight ahead in 2020.
Just saying, any Republicans who want to stop Donald Trump in the Senate can. They won't, of course.
But they could.