Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) voted twice to end the partial federal government shutdown by supporting both Republican and Democratic proposals on Thursday.
The Senate considered plans from both sides of the aisle. The Republican plan to reopen the government would have given President Trump the $5.7 billion he wants to build a wall on the US-Mexico border. The Democrats plan didn’t include any money for the wall.
Alexander voted for both, but ultimately the rival proposals failed to get the necessary 60 votes.
“I voted twice today to open the government because it should never have been shut down,” Alexander said in a statement “It is always wrong for either side to use shutting down the government as a bargaining chip in budget negotiations – it should be as off-limits as chemical weapons are to warfare.”
He went on to accuse Democrats of “playing politics.”
“Democrats are still playing politics. Democrats approved 654 miles of wall on the southern border for the last four presidents – Presidents Obama, George W. Bush, Clinton and George H.W. Bush. Why is it suddenly ‘immoral’ to build more wall when Trump is president?”
-Statement by Sen. Lamar Alexander
Five other Republicans voted for the Democratic plan.
Tennessee’s other Republican U.S. Senator, the recently-elected Marsha Blackburn, voted in favor of the Republican proposal but voted against the plan favored by Democrats.