Romney Among Republicans Who Defected To Democrat Government Funding Bill

(Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter
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Utah Sen. Mitt Romney was one of six Republican senators who voted for the Democratic funding bill that did not include money for a southern border wall Thursday.

In addition to Romney, Republican Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Susan Collins of Maine, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Johnny Isakson of Georgia and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska defected and voted for the Democratic bill.

That did not keep them from being able to vote for the Trump-backed compromise bill that funded a wall and made concessions on immigration. Gardner, Collins and Murkowski had announced their intentions to vote for both plans prior to voting.

“This shutdown, the longest in our history, must come to an end,” Collins said on the Senate floor after the vote Thursday afternoon. “It has already caused far too much harm to 800,000 dedicated federal employees and their families.” (RELATED: Purple State Republican Cory Gardner To Vote For Both Parties’ Senate Funding Bills)

Romney is a freshman senator, and Gardner and Collins could face tough challenges in their 2020 re-election campaigns. Unlike them, Alexander is retiring in 2020.

The funding bills in question were expected to fail, since they needed 60 votes and most senators were expected to vote along party lines. The Senate is split with 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats and Independents who caucus with Democrats.

The GOP-backed bill failed 50-47, while the Democratic measure failed 52-44, according to CNBC.

Sen. Tom Cotton walks to a closed briefing on intelligence matters on Capitol Hill on December 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Sen. Tom Cotton walks to a closed briefing on intelligence matters on Capitol Hill on December 4, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Mike Lee of Utah voted against the president’s bill, while Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin voted yes, reported Roll Call.

Lee had written in an op-ed in The Deseret News Saturday:

Unfortunately, zero progress is being made to resolve this impasse here in Washington. … Democrats are refusing even to meet with President Trump to discuss a compromise. And in the Senate, we are not debating or voting on possible solutions.

This is wrong. Congress is failing the American people. We should be debating and voting on these issues every day of this shutdown.

The votes came after the shutdown over border wall funding passed the one-month mark — it hit day 34 Thursday. Trump wants more than $5 billion for a southern border wall; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said a border wall would be “immoral.” It’s the longest funding gap in U.S. history.

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