It’s day 19 of Individual 1’s partial government shutdown, and the one person who can force an end to it, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is facing an increasingly restive Republican conference and potential rebellion. When it was Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Susan Collins (R-ME) making noises about it being time to end this thing, he could ignore it. It’s Collins; she’s easy to manage. But now it’s Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) saying out loud it’s time to do something.
CNN talked to “a wide range of Senate Republicans” who are “anxious about the long-term impact of a partial shutdown that has shuttered a quarter of the federal government and impacted hundreds of thousands of federal employees and contractors,” and thinks it’s time to start having the votes to start reopening agencies. A few went on the record, including Murkowski. “I think we can walk and chew gum,” she told CNN, saying she’s “amenable to a process that would allow for those appropriations bills that have concluded some time ago that they be enacted into law—whether it’s the Department of Interior or the IRS. I’d like to see that.”
“I am supportive of a process that is going to allow us to get these six bills through and if we need … to do something different with Homeland … then let’s do that,” she said. The thing about Murkowski is that, unlike Collins, she doesn’t make a habit of using reporters to burnish her reputation as an independent or moderate. She doesn’t have the same need as Collins to posture and preen. She just acts when the time comes to do so. McConnell doesn’t need to worry about Collins, but he does need to worry about Murkowksi.
And not, clearly, just her. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), chair of a key subcommittee overseeing homeland security funding, said she “can live” with a continuing resolution to reopen the Department of Homeland Security. She wants the rest of the government reopened. “I think certainly I have expressed more than a few times the frustrations with a government shutdown and how useless it is,” Capito said Tuesday. “That pressure is going to build.”
Yes, it is. Trump’s ridiculous and pointless display Tuesday night didn’t move the needle at all. Public opinion is against him, and Republicans know it.