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Colorado's Representation In Congress Making Waves On Capitol Hill

DENVER (CBS4) - Two freshmen Congressmen from Colorado were sworn in at the nation's Capitol on Thursday, including the state's first African American Representative. Congressman Joe Neguse, a Democrat representing Boulder, is already gaining prominence.

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Joe Neguse (credit: CBS)

Neguse delivered the Democrat's weekly radio address and is one of only two freshmen to receive a leadership post. He represents a district hard hit by the government shutdown. It includes the federal labs in Boulder and Rocky Mountain National Park.

Neguse called the President's bluff to veto any spending bills that don't include $5 billion for a border wall, "It's incumbent on us to send them his way, put them on his desk, and I would, again, hope that cooler heads prevail in the White House... I'm hopeful, although perhaps a bit young and naive."

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (credit: CBS)

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he won't put bills on the floor unless Pres. Trump agrees to sign them.

Colorado's Republican Sen. Cory Gardner says re-opening the government should come first, "I support getting the government open now and if we need to wait to have a debate about border security let's do that. Let's just get the government open and have a stand-alone debate on border security."

Senate Continues Debate On Criminal Justice Reform Bill
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 17: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (L) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) head to the floor to vote to begin debate on a bipartisan criminal reform bill, called the 'First Step Act,' at the U.S. Capitol December 17, 2018 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump said he would sign the legislation, which would reduce the number of inmates in the nation's crowded prisons by giving judges more discretion in sentencing offenders for nonviolent crimes and strengthen rehabilitation programs for former prisoners. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Still, Gardner says Democrats are being disingenuous, "Just six months ago Democrats supported $25 billion of border security. Now they don't even want one-fifth of that. I've talked to the White House as recently as just yesterday. I talked to the president. I told the president that he should move forward on accepting a package that would reopen the government. Let the debate be about border security because if the American people see that people have backed away from an agreement that they made just six months ago they'll see right through that."

New members like Neguse aren't signing on to any agreement by the old guard, "I disagree vehemently that a wall is the right approach. I think it's intellectually dishonest. I think it's ineffective, it's expensive and again, in my view, morally outrageous."

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(credit: CBS)

House Democrat bills would fund every agency but Homeland Security for nine months. Homeland security, in charge of border security, would only be funded for one month. The bills, again, are non-starters in the Senate. McConnell has said they won't even get a vote.

Jason Crow (credit: CBS)

The other newly sworn-in Congressman from Colorado, Rep. Jason Crow, also made waves on opening day. He kept his campaign promise to vote against Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House.

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