As the country embarks on a third week with the federal government partially shutdown, Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins says that while U.S. border security does need to be improved, she contends that stalling government is not the way to go about it.
"I've never thought that shutdowns are an appropriate means of trying to achieve any kind of solution," Collins says. "This isn't a matter of one side caving in, it's a matter of getting to a compromise."
Speaking on NBC's Meet The Press on Sunday morning, Maine's senior Senator told host Chuck Todd that solving the shutdown needs to be the "first priority" for lawmakers.
Collins touted the resurrection of a 2018 bill as a possible compromise, an idea that was recently floated by Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee, in a Washington Post op-ed, as one of three possible compromises.
That bill includes amendments authored in part by Maine independent Sen. Angus King. It would provide $25 billion over ten years for the President's border security plans, and it would provide a 10- to 12- year path to citizenship for so-called"dreamers," that is, immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children.
However, President Trump previously threatened to veto that bill should it cross his desk.
At the very least, Collins says she'd like to see a bundle of House-approved spending bills come to the Senate floor as a means of getting many federal employees back to work, while the more divisive details are negotiated.
"Real lives are being affected here," she says. "The 800-thousand federal employees, dedicated public servants, won't get a paycheck next Friday if this isn't resolved very soon."
With some, such as Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who is considering a run for president, already looking ahead to the 2020 election, Collins also repeated her position that she is "getting prepared" to run again, but will not make a final decision until later in 2019.
Collins reiterated previous assertions that she would rather see lawmakers focus on legislating in the "odd year" before launching into another election cycle.