On Friday, liberal Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), not usually a full-throated Trump supporter, insisted that the president’s request for Democrats to consider border wall funding is “not so unreasonable” and encouraged Congress to end the shutdown.
“We want border security. I want border security. I think that the president’s request for a comprehensive view of how we address this is not something so unreasonable,” Murkowski said in a speech on the floor of the Senate. She called for a hearing to treat Trump’s border wall funding request as “a request for supplemental appropriations.”
“But in order to do this, we’ve got to get our colleagues on the other side to sit down and go through this process with us. So maybe we can get a short-term reprieve. Let’s do a short-term C.R. [Continuing Resolution] to allow us to process this,” she continued. “But let’s not keep the government shut down while we do this.”
Murkowski lamented that the whole debate involves mostly political wrangling. “We can figure these things out. Everyone is talking about leverage — it’s all political leverage,” she said. “Well, tell that to the people who are really worried right now.”
She compared federal government workers waiting for their paychecks to victims of earthquakes in Alaska who are struggling to get heating and survive the winter. “What do you do if you’re not sure if that paycheck that was supposed to come today is coming today or coming two weeks from now?”
Murkowski urged both sides of Congress to “go to work, stop arguing about who’s winning, and let’s get the government open.”
The Alaska senator is widely considered one of the most liberal Republicans, and the GOP always fears losing her vote on controversial legislation. In 2016, she un-endorsed Donald Trump following the Access Hollywood tape. She votes for Trump’s policies, but she is not considered very reliable.
For these reasons, Murkowski’s full-throated defense of Trump and call for ending the government shutdown is notable. This move arguably represents a key shift in Trump’s favor in the shutdown battle.
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