Ohio lawmakers relieved shutdown ends, but Dems still cool to wall
Lawmakers from both parties expressed relief that the partial shutdown of the federal government ended Friday, but many Democrats appear cool to a possible compromise that includes President Donald Trump’s coveted steel barrier along hundreds of miles of the border with Mexico.
Although Republicans such as Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Rep. Steve Stivers of Upper Arlington say opening the government for three weeks gives congressional negotiators the chance to forge a compromise acceptable to Trump, Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles quickly said “we’re not going to make the taxpayers foot the bill for a vanity project the president has endlessly bragged that Mexico would pay for.”
“We need to invest in technology, bolster our security at ports of entry, and identify the weak points at the southern border,” Ryan said. “Ultimately, the conversations must be bipartisan and evidence-based.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said while lawmakers “need to work together to secure our borders,” he assailed Trump for “inflicting a world of unnecessary pain on workers across this country — all for a border wall he promised Mexico would pay for.”
By contrast, Stivers said the agreement creates conditions that “will spur action to secure our border, including with physical barriers where needed. I trust that all parties are working in good faith, but the temporary nature of government funding allows time to verify that trust.”
Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, sounded a similar note, calling the end of the shutdown “only a short-term solution.” During the upcoming three weeks, Turner said, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York “must negotiate and deliver necessary funding for border security.”
Portman, who was part of a group of senators who searched for a compromise, said the announcement was “consistent with the letter that a group of Republicans and Democrats agreed on last week that outlined a process for reopening the government in the short term with the commitment to a border security plan that can be enacted in the next few weeks.”
“In the coming days and weeks, I will continue to work with my colleagues on a responsible plan to fund our government, improve our border security, and prevent these inexcusable shutdowns in the future,” Portman said.
Rep. Troy Balderson, R-Zanesville, said “while not a permanent solution, I’m encouraged our nation’s leaders have come together to reach this agreement.” He has indicated he plans to introduce a bill similar to Portman’s that would provide for an automatic spending bill for any spending bill not completed by the October fiscal year deadline.
Rep. David Joyce, R-Russell Township in Geauga County, said that during the next three weeks “my colleagues on both sides of the aisle need to move past their single-minded approach that kept us in this mess for far too long” and forge an agreement to resolve “the crisis on our border.”
Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Jefferson Township east of Columbus, said the end of the shutdown means “we can get back to working on the real issues affecting” central Ohio.