Pressure Builds on Republican Senate to End Government Shutdown as Trump Prepares a Visit – The New York Times

Other Democrats offered other warnings to the White House.

Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, said he had warned Patrick Shanahan, the acting defense secretary, in a private meeting that a national emergency declaration by Mr. Trump would constitute a “major breach” of relations between the Pentagon and Congress.

“In my meeting with Acting Secretary Shanahan, I cautioned him that if President Trump directs D.O.D. to circumvent Congress in such a legally dubious way on such a major issue, Congress will have to re-evaluate its relationship with the department and judge whether each instance of broad flexibility granted to the department is worth the risk of abuse by President Trump,” he said in a statement.

So far, Mr. McConnell and Senate Republicans have shielded Mr. Trump from having to veto legislations to reopen the government. And even amid misgivings from some in the party, there were signs elsewhere support was intact among key senators.

“I think the ultimate goal is to find some consensus, but I don’t think the president is being unreasonable to ask what he is asking for,” said Senator Joni Ernst, Republican of Iowa who faces her own re-election fight next year.

Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, said he similarly respected Mr. Trump’s position.

“We’re not going to take away his leverage to fight for something that everybody said they can afford but won’t pay for,” he said.

But if discomfort within the conference spreads, and there is fresh evidence the shutdown’s costs could imperil the party’s political chances, Mr. McConnell could come under increased pressure to enter the fray and nudge the president toward a faster resolution.

Still, on Wednesday, Mr. McConnell continued publicly to insist that the dispute was for Democrats and the president to solve. He has largely absented himself from negotiations, a position that appeared to be validated on Tuesday by a Politico and Morning Consult poll that found only 5 percent of respondents blamed congressional Republicans for the impasse, compared to 47 percent who blamed Mr. Trump and 33 percent who blamed congressional Democrats.

“I cannot urge my Democratic colleagues more strongly to get past this purely partisan spite, rediscover their own past positions on border security, and negotiate a fair solution with our president to secure our nation and reopen all of the federal government,” Mr. McConnell said in remarks on the Senate floor.

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