Trump’s senators in revolt over wall

 

Three Republican senators are reportedly set to vote against Donald Trump to reopen the government without funding for a border wall.

Cory Gardner is the latest to confirm he would support the Democrat-backed "clean funding bill", which does not include any money for Mr Trump's US-Mexico wall.

Mr Gardner is up for re-election in 2020 in Colorado, which voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, so he needs the support of swing voters.

He will join Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, GOP senators who are also expected to vote for the bill as the shutdown reaches day 34.

The senate will consider two bills in the coming hours, but neither is expected to gain the 60 votes needed to pass.

Democrats have been unwilling to offer more than $US1.3 billion ($A1.8 billion) for border security including fencing and surveillance, with Ms Pelosi calling a wall unnecessary and "immoral".

It is possible two Democratic centrists - Joe Manchin and Doug Jones - could vote with the GOP as they represent knife-edge states and Mr Jones is up for re-election in 2020.

But Republicans, who have a 53-47 majority in the senate, would need seven Democrats to reach the 60-vote threshold.

The senate will then take up a proposal preferred by Democrats, which provides a two-week stopgap funding bill to fund the government up to 8 February as negotiations continue.

As Americans suffer - including 800,000 federal workers who are set to miss a second pay cheque tomorrow - politicians hope the "show vote" will demonstrate that they are trying to resolve the impasse.

Some observers hope that even if the bills both fail, they could open the door for policymakers to come up with better proposals for funding bills that would reopen government.

Democrat James Clyburn yesterday suggested it might be "doable" to give the President money for a "humane wall" in return for permanent protections for Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals and immigrants with temporary protective status.

 

Neither bill is expected to pass, as Americans suffer through a 34th day of shutdown, with 800,000 workers set to miss a second pay cheque tomorrow Picture: AP Photo/Susan Walsh
Neither bill is expected to pass, as Americans suffer through a 34th day of shutdown, with 800,000 workers set to miss a second pay cheque tomorrow Picture: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

 

It comes after Mr Trump agreed to postpone his State of Union address despite battling House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the speech yesterday. He initially said in a letter that he would push ahead with the agenda-setting speech, but eventually agreed to wait until the government reopened after the speaker said he would not be able to deliver it in the House.

"As the Shutdown was going on, Nancy Pelosi asked me to give the State of the Union Address," he tweeted late on Wednesday. "I agreed. She then changed her mind because of the Shutdown, suggesting a later date. This is her prerogative - I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over."

He then addressed suggestions he might have given the speech in an alternative location, adding: "I am not looking for an alternative venue for the SOTU Address because there is no venue that can compete with the history, tradition and importance of the House Chamber."

Earlier, he called Ms Pelosi's decision "a great, great horrible mark" for the US, adding that "it's always good to be a part of history, but this is a very negative part of history."

 

Mr Trump has agreed to delay his agenda-setting State of the Union address after Speaker Nancy Pelosi said he could not deliver it in the House of Representatives until the government reopened. Picture: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Mr Trump has agreed to delay his agenda-setting State of the Union address after Speaker Nancy Pelosi said he could not deliver it in the House of Representatives until the government reopened. Picture: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

 

Mr Trump's approval rating has taken a hit during the shutdown, dropping to 41 per cent earlier this month, with polls showing most Americans do not support his wall.

Meanwhile, commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, one of the richest people in Mr Trump's Cabinet, was slammed after he questioned why unpaid workers did not simply take out bank loans.

Mr Ross, whose financial disclosure forms reveal $US700 million in assets, said he "didn't quite understand" why workers were going to homeless shelters to get food.

The comments were seen as the latest in a series of out-of-touch remarks about the shutdown from Trump officials, after the President said he "could relate" to unpaid government workers, but they needed to "make adjustments."



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