Congress is gridlocked by political polarity and moderates are becoming an endangered species in Washington. Maine can be proud of Republican Sen. Susan Collins on how she overcame gridlock at the top and “led from the middle.”

In January 2019 she was instrumental in ending the unfortunate 35-day federal government shutdown. President Trump wanted $5.7 billion to build a wall and Democratic leaders Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer said “no,” so the president shut down the federal government beginning on Dec. 22, 2018, and there were no further negotiations between the leaders.

Susan Collins went on “Meet the Press” and CNN on Jan. 6, 2019, and said that government shutdowns served no purpose and bemoaned that 800,000 government workers were furloughed, and thousands were not receiving needed government services. She asked the White House if the president would end the shutdown if bipartisan senators could negotiate a compromise that would be acceptable to both sides. He agreed and conditionally opened the government on Jan. 25, saying that if an acceptable compromise was not achieved by Feb. 15 he would again close the government.

A group of about 16 bipartisan senators met in Sen. Collins’ office, which they nicknamed “Little Switzerland” since it was neutral territory, and negotiated a compromise prior to the deadline that prevented another shutdown.

I believe she is the only current senator who has the respect and admiration from both sides of the aisle and the credibility as an honest broker who could have pulled that off.

Stuart Gilbert

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: