Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Murkowski, Sullivan say they are committed to reopening government

Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski voted yes Thursday on both bills that aimed to reopen the government agencies that have been closed for more than one month. Alaska GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan voted in favor of the Republican-backed legislation and against the Democrats' bill.

Both measures failed to reach the 60-vote threshold required to end debate and advance to a final vote.

Murkowski, elected to her third six-year term in 2016, was one of six Republicans to vote in favor of the Democrats' plan. That plan would only have provided funding through Feb. 8.

“While both of these measures were imperfect, they would have immediately reopened the government, and ensured that tens of thousands of federal employees and contractors receive their paychecks," Murkowski said in an emailed statement. "From individual industries such as aviation and fisheries to entire communities—Alaskans are facing widespread, detrimental impacts as a result of the partial government shutdown.

"While these measures did not advance today, everybody—from both sides of the aisle, both chambers, and the administration—will come together to find a path forward," she said. "I am committed to finding a way to get the government open and end this shutdown as soon as possible. We owe it to the American people.”

Sullivan, who faces his first re-election in 2020, said the bill put forward by President Donald Trump and shepherded in the Senate by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was a bipartisan compromise.

“Today, the bipartisan proposal I supported would have re-opened the government, provided necessary funding to secure our southern border with a barrier and also by using 21st century technologies, and would fund an increase in much-needed border patrol agents and immigration judges," he said in a statement distributed after the vote. "The bill would have also provided a degree of certainty to the DACA participants — young people who were brought to our country through no fault of their own."

Sullivan added that the bill was important to Alaska in that it would have extended the Violence Against Women Act and provided funding to help with the November earthquake in the Anchorage area.

“By contrast, I voted against Senator (Chuck) Schumer’s proposal, because, had it passed the Senate, it would have been vetoed, sending us right back to our current situation — gridlock – while delaying the constructive negotiations that are going on right now," he said. "We need to open the government, secure our borders and pay our federal workers. We do not need further delays and more political posturing.

“The situation for our federal workers—including our men and women in the U.S. Coast Guard—is unacceptable. It’s past time for Congress to come to the negotiating table and strike a bipartisan deal.”

Source: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner