Sherrod Brown, Rob Portman on opposite sides in failed votes to reopen the government

January 24, 2019

Sherrod Brown, Rob Portman on opposite sides in failed votes to reopen the government

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Senate on Thursday rejected dueling government funding proposals from Republicans and Democrats that would have reopened parts of the government that have been shuttered for more than a month, with Ohio’s U.S. Senators backing the measures backed by their own parties.

The votes provided no respite to a shutdown that’s withheld pay from 800,000 government workers, hundreds of thousands more contractors, and has slowed down the economy. After the vote, Ohio GOP Sen. Rob Portman said he hoped that going through the votes would pave the way for a bipartisan deal.

“At least we’re finally talking,” Portman said as he and other Senators delivered speeches calling for compromise after the vote.

The Senate initially rejected a plan that President Donald Trump offered to reopen the government, which included $5.7 billion for a border wall. Portman, who backed the plan, called it a “constructive compromise offered by the president” to strengthen border security, provide certainty to DACA recipients and let refugees who were previously granted “temporary protected status” stay in the United States.

“I’m disappointed it failed to get the necessary votes,” Portman continued. “I appreciate that Senator (Chuck) Schumer also offered his short-term proposal to reopen government for two weeks, but it was not a compromise and contained provisions that guaranteed a presidential veto, including prohibiting any of the funds from being used to make our borders more secure with new fencing and barriers. It’s time to get past the political posturing and come together to resolve this impasse.”

After that, the Senate defeated a Democratic proposal that would have reopened the government through Feb. 8 without providing the border security money Trump requested. Although the measure had support from a half dozen Republican senators, it also failed to garner enough votes for passage.

After the vote, Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown released a statement that blamed the stalemate on Republicans.

“I’m calling on Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, and my Republican colleagues to listen to the hardworking Americans who are suffering under this unnecessary and avoidable shutdown,” said Brown. “Talk to the workers and military members and small business owners who you’re hurting. Reopen the government and do it today.”

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