Colorado’s Morning News, Cory Gardner, January 3, 2019

Station:     KOA, 850 am

Show:       Colorado’s Morning News

Guests:    Gardner, Cory


Date:        January 3, 2019

Topics:     Government Shutdown, Immigration, Border Patrol, The Wall, Border Security, Bipartisan, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Neguse, Transportation Infrastructure, Energy Issues, Great Outdoor Economy

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ZESBAUGH:  So, yesterday, the President was asked, “How long is this government shutdown going to last?” He said it could end very quickly or it could go on a long time. What is your feeling about how long this could go?

GARDNER: Well, I hope this ends today. I think we need to get this government funded, open, and running. I think it should be something that Republicans and Democrats can agree to. And I’ve supported measures to do just that. Let’s get this open, today!

LENZ:  The wall has just become really just a symbol to some degree, Senator.  But two things can be true.  There’s an immigration problem and you all need to work legislatively to fix it. But secondarily, a wall is not going to solve the problem.

GARDNER:  Well, we’ve heard from Border Patrol and others that they would like a wall in areas where it makes sense. I think the wall has become – in the President’s words – other things than a wall, that’s new judges, that’s roads – just some things he talks about.  But what I think what we need is to go back to some common sense that was around this place just 6 months ago. Six months ago, I was part of a bipartisan effort that would have provided $25 billion for border security and also addressed many elements of our broken immigration system. That had Republican support, it had Democratic support. That’s the kind of common sense solution that we ought to be pushing for that could end this government shutdown today.

ZESBAUGH:  Well, and last week, you had VP Mike Pence offering $2.5 billion, as he was trying to negotiate with Democrats. That might have been something they would go for. But then it seems like what the President is doing is always a moving target and that makes it difficult to nail him down.

GARDNER:  Well, I think they would still take $2.5 billion, or even less than that.  I have heard that an offer has been made – around $1.6 billion — by the President and Vice President.  Look, I was instrumental in helping to get the administration talking to Chuck Schumer when nobody seemed to be talking to each other. I’m going to continue to push for that. Look, we need border security. But we also have to have a competent government, and that’s our priority – is to make sure that we have both.

LENZ:  And it’s also the sliding scale of the wall, too. It’s not a wall, now it’s a fence. Now it’s this. I mean, to some degree—and I say this respectfully, does the President think that some of the populace is just not bright enough to understand necessarily what’s going on. I mean, you’re just kind of pushing or moving the goal posts each time?

GARDNER:  Well, what I’ve understood for some time now, is the President – when he talks about a wall—is – this goes back to our debate that we had where we had that $25 billion for the wall and the immigration reforms that had Republican and Democratic support – it included roads along the border that were needed for security for Border Patrol, that it included hundreds of new judges that were needed to process immigration cases, that it indeed include additional border security devices including electronic and physical barriers. So, you know, I think in his mind, he tries to talk about these in different words, meaning ‘all of the above.’ But you’d have to ask him for his exact definition. My thought is simply this:  let’s get the government open, let’s fund border security. I’ve voted for a clean resolution to do just that. Let’s get this work done!

ZESBAUGH:  We keep calling him, and he won’t take our calls!

GARDNER:  [laughs]

ZESBAUGH:  So, thousands of Democrats take control of the House today.  Do you feel like things can still get done, that there are bipartisan things you can agree on in the next three months?

GARDNER:  I certainly do. I’m looking forward to working with our new colleagues.  Congratulations to Congressman-elect Crow and Congressman-elect Neguse.  Only a couple more hours before they are full-fledged Congressmen, so [I’m] excited for they’re leadership and opportunities coming ahead. So, I think there are issues on transportation infrastructure to address, energy issues, our great outdoor economy in Colorado – so, a number of areas of opportunity.

LENZ:  Senator, thank you for your time. We look forward to continuing the conversation here in 2019.

GARDNER:  Hey, thanks for having me!