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Grassley Supports Border Protection Funding Despite Threats Of Partial Government Shutdown

chuck grassley
Amy Mayer/IPR file photo
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is backing the president's threat to partially shutdown the government if Congress doesn't approve border protection funding. Researchers say past shutdowns cost billions in lost economic activity.

Iowa’s senior U.S. Senator says he’s backing a plan funding border protection, despite threats from the president to force a partial government shutdown if Congress doesn't allocate the funds.

President Donald Trump has said he’d be proud to shut down the federal government if lawmakers don’t agree to allocate $5 billion for his proposed wall along the country's southern border with Mexico. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says he wants expanded border security, and is supportive of the funding request.

“I say I support this, yes. But nobody wants to shut down the government. It could happen, I hope it doesn’t happen. But on the other hand it seems to me there ought to be a reasonable compromise," Grassley said. “Between the one and three tenths billion that the Democrats are willing to do and the five billion the president wants, how about three billion, three and a half billion, as a compromise.”

After Grassley made the comments on a call with reporters, a spokesperson clarified that the senator "does not support a government shutdown, partial or otherwise." 

Lawmakers have until midnight on Friday to avert the partial shutdown, which would shutter the departments of Agriculture, Justice, Homeland Security and others. Hundreds of thousands of workers could be impacted. Some employees deemed essential would be expected to work without pay, including law enforcement officers within the FBI and TSA.

An analysis by the Congressional Research Service shows closing down government operations, and starting them back up again, come at considerable costs. The CRS calculated a previous shutdown in 2014 cost some $2 billion in payroll and other costs, and an estimated $2 - 6 billion in lost economic activity.

Clarification: a previous version of this story posited that Grassley supported both the $5 billion funding request for border protection, and the plan to shutdown portions of the federal government if necessary to secure the funding. But according to a spokesperson for the senator, while Grassley wants to secure the border and does support the president's funding request, he does not support shutting down the government. 

Kate Payne was an Iowa City-based Reporter