Lindsey Graham throws in towel on talks to end government shutdown

Lapse in appropriations has entered its 20th day

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he is done trying to find a path to ending the shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One of the Republican senators who had been trying to find a compromise to end the partial government shutdown is now calling on the president invoke executive powers to try to build the wall at the border with Mexico.

“Speaker Pelosi’s refusal to negotiate on funding for a border wall/barrier -- even if the government were to be reopened -- virtually ends the congressional path to funding for a border wall/barrier,” Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said in a statement. “It is time for President Trump to use emergency powers to fund the construction of a border wall/barrier. I hope it works.”

Graham had said earlier Thursday afternoon that he was done trying to find a solution that would provide a path to reopening the roughly one-quarter of the government that is now closed.

“I don’t see a way forward,” the South Carolina Republican told reporters. “I don’t know who to talk to, and I don’t know what else to do.”

Graham said a clean continuing resolution wouldn’t go anywhere in the Senate.

“Mitch is not going to put anything on the floor the president isn’t going to sign,” he said, referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins, like Graham a member of the Appropriations Committee, said there were an array of difficulties facing Republican lawmakers who want to end the shutdown.

“It’s very difficult when we’re dealing with people who do not want to budge at all in their positions, and that’s the president and Speaker Pelosi and they are each very dug in on their positions and that’s made this very difficult to resolve,” Collins said.

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