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Border security provisions are key in a deal to avoid a government shutdown, Susan Collins says

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, vice-chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, arrives as Congress returns to work in crisis mode with only a few days to go before a government shutdown, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., faces an insurgency from hard-right Republicans eager to slash spending even if it means closing federal offices to millions of Americans.
J. Scott Applewhite
/
AP
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, vice-chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, arrives as Congress returns to work in crisis mode with only a few days to go before a government shutdown, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., faces an insurgency from hard-right Republicans eager to slash spending even if it means closing federal offices to millions of Americans. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Maine Sen. Susan Collins says she is working with several colleagues on a new compromise to avoid a government shutdown starting this weekend by adding border security provisions to the bill.

Collins was part of the group that proposed a stopgap measure earlier this week to keep government offices open through mid-November. But hard-liners in the House haven't budged. And Collins said it's clear that many Republicans, as well as some Democrats, want additional border security provisions in any deal.

So Collins says they are working now to provide more resources to the border patrol and to set a "higher standard" for entry into the U.S. in response to the surge in migrants across the southern border. The proposal is based in part on provisions in a broader bill, the Secure the Border Act of 2023, that passed the Republican-controlled House but has no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate. 

Maine’s senior senator, who is the highest-ranking Republican on the Senate's powerful Appropriations Committee, said the message from her GOP counterparts in the House "changes by the hour" but that she hoped adding border security will help win their support and avoid a shutdown starting on Sunday.

"A shutdown is not the way to achieve a policy outcome,” Collins said in an interview. “And unfortunately, there is a small group in the House that seems not to believe that. And I think, in some cases, I think it's because they have not been through a government shutdown before and do not recognize how harmful it is."

A shutdown would affect roughly 11,500 federal workers in Maine, many of whom would be required to work without pay. Collins said that shutdowns, in addition to putting financial strain on federal workers, end up costing the federal more money because those workers are eventually paid retroactively and the federal government pays interest.

There were partial shutdowns in 2013 and 2018.