Republican senators defy Trump by backing bill to end government without funding for border wall

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski

Three Republican senators have indicated they would support a bill that ends the US government shutdown without funding a border wall, in sign patience is wearing thin within Donald Trump’s party as the dispute drags on.

Democrats were set to test GOP backing of the president on Wednesday by advancing a House bill to immediately reopen the Treasury Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and several other agencies that been partially closed since 22 December.

Hundreds of thousands of federal government workers have gone without pay for nearly three weeks as Mr Trump refuses to budge on his demand of $5.6bn (£4.4bn) funding for a wall on the US-Mexico border, money that Democrats have flat-out refused to sign off.

On Tuesday Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski became the latest Republican to signal a break with the president on the issue.

“We don’t need to hold up these six other departments at the same time that we are resolving these very important security issues,” she told NBC News. “Let’s bifurcate these issues, let’s set them aside, let’s allow for the operations, these governmental functions of these six other departments, allow for them to continue.”

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