LEWISTON — It’s time for congressional leaders and President Trump  “to stop hiding and show a little leadership” to end the longest-ever federal government shutdown, U.S. Rep. Jared Golden of Maine said Monday.

Golden, a Democrat, said that instead of three-way talks among Trump and two Democrats — Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer —the top congressional Republicans ought to be in the room negotiating as well.

Golden, who represents the 2nd District, said that when he returns to the Capitol late Monday he plans to tell colleagues that a bipartisan solution has to be worked out — and soon.

He said that when a similar showdown in Augusta threatened to keep state government offices closed for a prolonged period, legislative leaders from both parties managed to work out a deal with  Republican Gov. Paul LePage that gave the governor some of what he wanted while also providing more funding for education and Head Start, which were Democratic priorities.

That’s exactly the sort of agreement that leaders in Washington should be able to hash out, Golden said.

Golden, a 36-year-old Marine veteran who defeated an incumbent Republican in November, said he is “very frustrated with all the leadership right now” because none of them appear to be ready to give any ground to work out a solution.

One key to reopening the federal agencies and programs that are closed, Golden said, is to include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Republican chief Kevin McCarthy in the high-level talks that are required to break the logjam.

“Why don’t we have all four Democratic and Republican leaders at the table with the president?” Golden asked.

He said that national leaders could use some “Mainer-type common sense” to hash out a deal and put the government back to work.

Golden said that he is hearing from a variety of Mainers who are having trouble connecting with federal officials on a range of issues that complicate their lives, such as locking in a mortgage so they can close on a new house.

“There’s just no one on the other end of the line,” Golden said.

Golden said the shutdown is unnecessary.

He said it would be easier if Trump would reopen the government and then negotiate with Congress on border security issues.

Golden said the House has already shown it is willing to put more than $1 billion into border security upgrades and is ready to listen to requests for more.

He said he is opposed to the notion floated by Trump of declaring a national emergency to move ahead with a proposed border wall. “Plenty of Republicans are concerned” about the prospect of the president taking such a drastic step, too, Golden added.

Golden said that Democrats showed in Maine that coming up with some solution is better than remaining at loggerheads during a shutdown.

“What happened in 2018?” Golden asked before answering his own question to point out that Mainers rewarded Democrats for their willingness to put good government above scoring partisan points.

He said the Republicans who are willing to keep the doors shut to come out with a victory on the wall should be more careful. At best, he said, they can only achieve “what could be a Pyrrhic victory,” a win that costs far more than it’s worth.

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U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a Lewiston Democrat, spoke Saturday to a crowd of supporters attending an open house in his Lisbon Street office, where he vowed to keep the doors open for the public to walk in without the need for an appointment. (Steve Collins/Sun Journal)


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