As the partial government shutdown entered its 16th day Sunday, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said a compromise is still possible to end the impasse.

Speaking on the NBC News program “Meet the Press,” Maine’s senior senator said a possible compromise is a bill that would have appropriated $2.5 billion a year for border security and create a path to citizenship for children brought to the United States illegally, a measure backed by 54 senators last year that fell apart after a last-minute threat by President Trump to veto it.

“I would note that 46 out of 49 Democrats in the Senate voted for that compromise just last March,” Collins said, speaking from Bangor.

Last week Collins, along with several other centrist Republicans, urged Trump and congressional leaders to reopen the government and make the issue of the wall and border security separate from the rest of government. Both the centrist Republicans and Democratic leaders have called for passage of spending bills that were supported by the leaders of both parties before Trump renewed his threat to shut down the government unless more than $5 billion is budgeted for construction of a southern border wall.

Last week Collins, Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., and 28 Senate colleagues reintroduced a bill that would protect federal and other government workers from the repercussions of shutdowns.

Asked by “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd if she had any hope the impasse would end soon, Collins said she is always hopeful and has never thought a shutdown is an appropriate means of achieving a solution to an impasse.


“This isn’t a matter of one side or the other caving in. It’s a matter of getting to a compromise, and that is a sign of strength. And it’s important that we remember that real lives are being affected here: the 800,000 federal employees, dedicated public servants, who won’t get a paycheck next Friday if this isn’t resolved very soon,” she said.

Collins called the debate over whether the wall should be built of concrete or steel slats “bizarre.”

“We need to strengthen our border security. We need to look at more than just physical barriers, but at more agents, technology and other means,” she said.

Asked by Todd if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had done enough to bring about an end to the shutdown, Collins said she would like to see him bring the House-passed bills to the Senate floor so that the Agriculture and Treasury departments and others with no issues could reopen.

“But unless Chuck Schumer and Speaker Pelosi agree and the president agrees to sign a bill, we can pass bills but they won’t become law,” she said, referring to the Senate minority leader and the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi.

On another matter, Collins said she has yet to decide on a re-election bid in 2020, The Associated Press reported.

“I’m getting ready to run, but frankly I just think it’s too early to make that kind of decision,” Collins said. “But I am getting prepared, and I’ll make a final decision toward the end of this year.”


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