As Congress embarks on a brief lame-duck session before the holidays, all four members of Maine’s delegation said they hope to avoid another government shutdown, a move being pushed by some conservative lawmakers in response to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

Maine’s two senators and two representatives also agreed that the best alternative to the president’s executive actions would be for Congress to pass its own immigration bill, difficult as that might be.

Sens. Susan Collins, a Republican, and Angus King, an independent, both voted last year for an immigration reform bill that passed easily in the Democratic-controlled Senate, 68-32. That bill would have provided a path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants while directing resources to strengthen border security.

Reps. Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud, both Democrats, also supported that bill, but it was never taken up by the Republican-controlled House. That’s one of the main reasons that Obama opted to use his executive authority last month.

But Obama’s call to provide temporary protection from deportation to an estimated 5 million undocumented immigrants has angered Republicans as Congress heads toward a Dec. 11 deadline to pass a spending bill that will keep the government running.

Some House Republicans have called the president’s actions unconstitutional and want to use the spending bill to hold up his immigration reform efforts. However, even if the House is successful, the Senate is not likely to go along. And even if the Senate does, the president could veto the bill.

Congress’ failure to pass a spending bill in September 2013 led to a partial government shutdown from Oct. 1-16. That fight was over the Obama administration’s signature policy initiative, the Affordable Care Act, which is still challenged regularly by Republicans.

In Maine, the shutdown closed Acadia National Park and cost the state an estimated $16 million, according to a federal report. It also affected veterans’ benefits, led to temporary layoffs of 50 state workers and created problems for Maine’s craft brewing industry because no one could process certification of label approvals, which beer must have before it can be sold.

House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday that he would call for a vote on a resolution to denounce Obama’s executive actions, but it would be a mostly symbolic gesture.

But Boehner also offered support for a bill that would fund the government through September, with the exception of the Department of Homeland Security, which would be funded for only about three months. Congress would ostensibly use those three months to come up with immigration reform legislation.

That option may not fly with rank-and-file House Republicans and could face opposition from Senate Democrats, although they will not hold a majority when the new term begins in January.

Defunding the Department of Homeland Security would not necessarily derail Obama’s executive actions. Another agency, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, is responsible for keeping tabs on immigrants and that agency is funded entirely from immigration application fees, meaning it cannot be defunded.

Congress’ other option would be to pass a so-called clean spending bill and deal with immigration next year, but Republicans may view that as defeat.

Maine’s senators and representatives did not indicate how they might vote because it’s not yet clear what will be in any spending bill, but they were united on avoiding a shutdown and passing some measure of immigration reform.

“It’s safe to say there is a general consensus that a shutdown is not a good thing,” King said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “The real question will be: What’s in the spending bill and for how long?”

Asked whether he would support a bill that funds other agencies for 10 months but limits funding for Homeland Security to three months, King said, “If it’s that or a shutdown, I could support it, but I don’t think that’s the best solution.”

Collins said in a written statement that she would back a spending bill to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year but Homeland Security for only a few months. She also reiterated her support for the immigration reform bill that passed the Senate in 2013, and criticized the president’s executive actions.

“Unfortunately, the president’s recent actions on immigration have complicated efforts to pass a funding bill and, ultimately, they undermine the efforts of those of us who favor immigration reform,” Collins said.

In the House, Pingree said she “would not be shocked” if Republicans used the spending bill to “make a partisan political statement about immigration.” She said a better option would be to pass a clean spending bill and then schedule a House vote on the immigration bill that already passed in the Senate.

“The House should take up that bill not just because it’s the right thing to do, but it also makes economic sense,” she said. “Passing immigration reform would mean workers already here would start paying their fair share of taxes and would contribute to reducing the deficit by $37 million a day.”

Michaud, who stepped down to run for governor and is finishing up his sixth term, said it would be “totally irresponsible to shut down our government over immigration, or any other issue.”

“House Republicans have had many opportunities over the past two years to bring a comprehensive immigration bill to the floor, but they’ve refused to do so,” Michaud said in a written statement. “The president is right in calling on Congress to finally have this debate and pass a bill.”

U.S. Rep.-elect Bruce Poliquin, a Republican who will succeed Michaud, reiterated his opposition to defunding the government, while knocking the president’s actions.

“I have made it clear the government should not be shut down,” Poliquin said in a written statement. “I have said repeatedly I do not favor government shutdowns. It is the job of congressmen to come together and solve problems.

“I do not favor amnesty for those who violate the law,” Poliquin said. “The president should secure our nation’s borders and enforce our immigration laws.”

Despite widespread criticism of last year’s shutdown, Republicans threatened another after Obama announced his immigration reform package in November – not long after Democrats suffered widespread defeats on Election Day, losing control of the Senate and seeing Republicans increase their majority in the House.

The centerpiece of his executive actions was the deferred deportation of some 5 million parents and children who have been in the country for five years or more.

King, like others, said he thinks the immigration reform bill that passed in 2013 is a good place for lawmakers to start next year, but he’s not optimistic that meaningful reform will happen.

“I think it will be difficult and it really depends on Speaker Boehner and what he decides to do,” King said.

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