Colorado’s Morning News, Cory Gardner, January 22, 2019

Station:     KOA 850 am

Show:       Colorado’s Morning News

Guests:    Gardner, Cory


Date:       January 22, 2019

Topics:      ,

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HOST APRIL ZESBAUGH: No end in sight for the parital government shutdown. Democrats say President Trump’s latest offer from the weekend is a nonstarter, but Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell [is] still expected to bring it up for a vote later this week. Let’s get into it with Colorado’s Republican Senator, Cory Gardner—live, from [Washington] D.C.. Thanks for coming on.


ZESBAUGH: So, you were the first Republican Senator to come out and say, “We’ve got to pay these government workers and figure out the border wall later.”  Do you feel like that’s kind of fallen on deaf ears?

GARDNER:  Well, look, I think we need to get the government open.  I’ve never believed shutdowns were a way to try to influence policy. I do think we need border security. I’m somebody who believes — what apparently a lot of people think is a rarity today — that we can walk and chew gum at the same time, and fund border security, fund Congress. But we should open the government, get the government open, and get people back to the negotiating table.

HOST MARTY LENZ:  I’ve asked your other colleagues in the House as well, are you foregoing your paycheck while the shutdown continues?

GARDNER:  If federal workers aren’t going to get paid, I’m not going to get paid. And we’ve said that. And I think that’s something we’ve done in previous shutdowns, as well.

ZESBAUGH: Would you vote for the President’s idea that Mitch McConnell is set to bring to a vote later this week?

GARDNER:  I certainly would, because that would open up the government.  That would get the government open. And look, what we’re going to be voting on is a motion to proceed.  If people don’t like the President’s proposal, this is their chance to debate that, to bring up a different solution onto the floor, to bring up an amendment onto the floor. So if they deny this opportunity to even open up debate, they’re saying they don’t even want to talk about opening up the government. So, I’m going to vote ‘yes’ to proceed. I support the President’s proposal. It’s reasonable. It’s a compromise. He doesn’t get everything he wanted. The other side doesn’t get everything they wanted. I don’t think ‘compromise’ is a dirty word. I don’t think ‘border security’ is a dirty word. What is something that needs to get done, is open the government for the people of this country and show that we can govern responsibly.

LENZ:  Senator, is the biggest issue, you think, the policy of immigration and less the visual of the wall. Would you agree with that?

GARDNER:  Well, you know, there are some people on your radio show who have said it’s the visual of the wall.  I listened to another member of the delegation who said it was the visual – or the optics – of the wall.  Look, we already have walls on the border in certain places.  The President, on Saturday, said he is not talking about a sea-to-sea barrier. He’s talking about barriers where professionals and border security say it’s necessary to stop a flow of people from entering into the country without documentation. So, I think this is a political fight. It’s a silly political fight. People need to go to the table – come to the table – and work this out.  And that’s why I think this Thursday’s vote – which is about a chance to debate a solution – is important to succeed.

ZESBAUGH: Yeah, Thursday [will be] a possible vote. Friday [will be] the next time these government workers don’t get a paycheck – their second one. What kind of phone calls and emails has your office been getting from those workers who are essentially working without pay?

GARDNER:  Well, it’s those workers that – and I understand how – I mean, look, if you’re a worker and you’re making $40,000 a year or less — maybe more – and you can’t make a mortgage payment–.   You know, I hope that their bank has been able to work with them. But if they haven’t, they could end up with a – you know, problems with their house, getting it refinanced or bad credit markings.  People who are tight – living paycheck to paycheck – on energy costs, on housing costs, on food allowances. And it’s those communities surrounding them that are worried about it:  restaurants that may not be as busy as they were because they were next to a federal facility, a city that lives next to a national park that is closed. So, let’s get this back open. Let’s fund border security. We can do both. But I think it’s important to have this conversation in the country, where – hey, we shouldn’t have zero-sum absolutes. We can actually accomplish multiple things at the same time.

LENZ:  Hey, I want to pick up on what April said, with the moments we have left.  Of those calls, how many of them call you and say they’re for the wall?

GARDNER:  A lot! I mean, I’ve even had federal employees who have said that they’re not getting paid, they understand it, but it’s worth it.  So, we are getting calls from both sides of this debate: people who are federal workers who are very upset, [and] people who are federal workers who support what the President is doing, people who aren’t federal workers who support what the President is doing, people who aren’t federal workers who oppose it. So, — but I don’t think anybody opposes border security. In fact, just a few months ago, Republicans and Democrats came together for $25 billion worth of border security. So, I don’t understand why this debate is what it is, unless it’s just sheer politics.  And that is pretty sick.

ZESBAUGH: Yeah, you take that ‘W’ word out of it [– wall] and you may have a deal on your hands. We will see.  Senator Cory Gardner, thanks for the time, as always.

GARDNER:  Hey, thanks for having me.