As the partial government shut down entered its 16th day Sunday, Sen. Susan Collins said compromise is still possible to end the impasse.

Speaking to Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Collins, a Republican and Maine’s senior senator, said a possible compromise is the bill that would have appropriated $2.5 billion a year for border security and create a path to citizenship for children brought to the United States illegally, a deal backed by 54 Senators last year which fell apart after a last-minute threat by President Trump to veto it.

“I would note that 46 out of 49 Democrats in the Senate voted for that compromise just last March, Collins said.

Last week Collins, along with several other centrist Republicans, urged Trump and congressional leaders to reopen the government and make the issue of the wall and border security separate from the rest of government. Both the centrists Republicans and Democratic leaders have called for passage of spending bills that were supported by the leaders of both parties before Trump renewed his threat to shut down the government unless $5 billion is budgeted for the construction of a southern border wall.

Last week Collins, who is up for re-election in 2020, and Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, and 28 Senate colleagues reintroduced a bill that would protect federal and other government workers from the repercussions of shutdowns.

Asked by Todd if she had any hope the impasse would end soon, Collins said she is always hopeful and has never thought a shut down is an appropriate means of achieving any kind of a solution to the impasse.

“This isn’t a matter of one side or the other caving in. It’s a matter of getting to a compromise, and that is a sign of strength. And it’s important that we remember that real lives are being affected here. The 800,000 federal employees, dedicated public servants, who won’t get a paycheck next Friday if this isn’t resolved very soon. ” she said.

Collins called the debate over whether the wall should be built of concrete or steel slats “bizarre.”

“We need to strengthen our border security. We need to look at more than just physical barriers, but at more agents, technology and other means,” she aid.

Asked by Todd if Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky had done enough to bring about an end to the shutdown, Collins said she would like to see him bring the House-passed bills to the Senate floor so that the Agriculture and Treasury departments and others with no issues could re-open.

“But unless Chuck Schumer and Speaker Pelosi agree and the president agrees to sign a bill, we can pass bills but they won’t become law,” she said.

Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @bquimby

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