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Republican Senators Break From Trump on Wall Demand

Sen. Susan Collins talks with reporters on Capitol Hill, September 17, 2018. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Senators Susan Collins (R., Maine) and Cory Gardner (R., Colo.) broke with fellow Republicans Thursday evening by calling on President Trump to sign a spending bill and end the ongoing government shutdown without securing funding for a border wall.

“I think we should pass a continuing resolution to get the government back open,” Gardner told reporters. “The Senate has done it last Congress, we should do it again today.”

“Congress needs to take further action on border security,” he added, “but that work should be done when the government is fully open. … Let Democrats explain why they no longer support border security.”

Collins, who is up for reelection in 2020, argued Congress should pass the spending bills that were initially supported by the leaders of both parties before Trump resumed his threat to shut down the government unless $5 billion is appropriated for the construction of a wall on the southern border.

“I’m not saying their whole plan is a valid plan,” she said, “but I see no reason why the bills that are ready to go and on which we’ve achieved an agreement should be held hostage to this debate over border security.”

While support within the Republican caucus appears to be waning, Vice President Mike Pence expressed resolve on behalf of the administration during a Thursday night appearance on Fox News.

“The president has made it very clear: No wall, no deal,” Pence said. “We’re here to make a deal, but it’s a deal that’s going to result in achieving real gains on border security, and you have no border security without a wall. We will have no deal without a wall.”