With the Republican majority in the U.S. House struggling to come up with a plan to avoid a government shutdown, a Maine Democrat has reached across the aisle to offer a bipartisan proposal to “keep America open.”

“The only way to avert a shutdown is to come to the table to negotiate a bipartisan agreement,” U.S. Rep. Jared Golden wrote in a statement.

Golden and three other lawmakers — Republicans Don Bacon of Nebraska and Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, and Democrat Ed Case of Hawaii — introduced the Keep America Open Act that would fund the government at 2023 levels into January, providing Congress more time to resolve its differences.

“Our bill keeps the government open, addresses the crisis at the border, maintains support for Ukraine, and stands with Americans as their communities recover from natural disasters,” Golden said. “It is past time for both Republicans and Democrats to do what’s right for the country.”

Unless Congress acts, the federal government will shut down when the new fiscal year begins Sunday, furloughing millions of federal workers.

Prospects for avoiding a shutdown appear dim because House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, has been unable to get the GOP majority in the House to agree on any plan. He has said he intends to press ahead with a package of spending bills that have no chance of passing the U.S. Senate and may not secure approval from his own caucus in the House.


It’s a path Bacon opposes.

He told Fox News that “the 95%” of Republican lawmakers willing to compromise “should not cower to or be bullied by five people.”

“We’ve got to do the right thing,” Bacon said. “Let’s just work in a bipartisan manner to begin with and move these five people to the side and start governing for the country.”

The Senate is preparing its own stopgap measure to keep the government funded.

Republicans who hail from marginal GOP districts have been talking about whether it’s possible to join hands with the Democratic majority to get a funding measure through the House.

The 70-page bill supported by Golden is one path for achieving that goal.


In addition to keeping the federal government open until Jan. 11, it would provide $24 billion for Ukraine and $16 billion for communities recovering from natural disasters, including the wildfire on the island of Maui in Hawaii.

Golden’s office said the bill “builds on a framework endorsed by the 64 members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus,” which is a group of Republicans and Democrats committed to working across party lines to resolve key issues. Golden is the group’s whip.

Fitzpatrick said in a news release that “with divided control of Congress, solutions to issues as critical as funding the federal government demand a two-party solution, with compromises agreed to by both sides. I hope that our colleagues will consider our bipartisan framework, endorsed by the 32 Republicans and 32 Democrats in the Problem Solvers Caucus, to prevent a government shutdown.”

“Our bipartisan caucus, who believe in building bridges and finding common ground, will continue to lead by example by building consensus in the center,” Fitzpatrick said.

Two other lawmakers have cosponsored the Keep America Open bill since its introduction: Democrat Josh Gottheimer and Republican Thomas Kean, both of New Jersey.

Golden, a three-term Democrat who represents Maine’s 2nd District, said the proposal also incorporates a measure he introduced earlier this year that would give President Joe Biden authority to expel migrants seeking to enter the country illegally at the southern border.

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