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On His First Day In Office, Jared Golden Faces ‘Manufactured Crisis’

Robert F. Bukaty
Associated Press File
In this May 18, 2018, file photo, U.S. Rep. Jared Golden addresses the Democratic Convention, in Lewiston.

Within hours of being sworn in, Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Golden of Maine’s 2nd District is facing votes on emergency legislation aimed at ending the partial shutdown of the federal government.

About a quarter of the federal government is affected by the stalemate between Congress and President Donald Trump over funding for a southern border wall. Trump is demanding a full a $5 billion, but Congress is holding firm at $1.3 billion that it has already approved for border security.

“This is a manufactured crisis. It’s unnecessary, and that’s the unfortunate part,” Golden says.

Golden says given all of the major issues facing the nation, he is disappointed that the border security dispute has eclipsed other key negotiations. But he says he’s keeping an open mind on the issue.

“I don’t know if there is going to have to be more funding for the wall or not. I’m not saying I am opposed to it, it sounds like there has been some willingness on the side of the Democrats to talk about it,” he says.

Golden did vote in support of a proposal to reopen the federal government that would fund six federal agencies for the rest of the budget year and also continue current funding levels for another month for the Department of Homeland Security.

"This shutdown is not good for Maine and will only get worse. That’s why I voted with Republicans and Democrats for common sense legislation to reopen the government and end this manufactured crisis," Golden said in an emailed statement. "This legislation ensures federal employees in Maine get the paychecks they’ve earned, provides strong, effective border security measures, and continues to invest in our state’s roads, bridges, and other infrastructure."

The freshman congressman have much in the way of specific legislation that he intends to sponsor, saying that depends on his committee assignments, which have not been made by leadership.

Golden says he will work on some type of measure dealing with the clean up of lead contamination in homes throughout Maine and other states.

“The thing is, we know that the lead is there. So, the best way to do something about it is get the lead out of the home,” he says.

Golden acknowledges federal efforts to implement remediation programs, but he says it doesn’t go far enough.

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.