Collins opposes emergency powers to build wall

January 11, 2019
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks to reporters as she walks into the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. for a meeting with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Republican Sen. Susan Collins said Friday she opposes any attempt by President Donald Trump to use emergency powers to build a border wall, saying there’s still room to find “common ground” for a compromise.

Collins said she hopes to persuade some Democrats to join a small group of senators attempting to craft a solution to reopen the federal government. But she said any emergency declaration would be of “dubious constitutionality.”

“I think a far better approach is for the president to work with members of Congress to come up with a compromise,” she said in a statement.

Much of the federal government has been shut down since Dec. 22 because of the president’s insistence that any budget bill include funding for a wall along the southern border.

On Saturday, the shutdown will set a record by surpassing a 21-day closure that ended Jan 6, 1996, during President Bill Clinton’s administration.

While Collins remains hopeful of a deal, it was not clear what a potential compromise between the White House and Congress might entail.

Efforts at negotiating a broader immigration deal involving immigrants brought to the country illegally as children collapsed with little progress.

In opposing emergency powers, Collins is going against Sen. Lindsay Graham, of South Carolina, who is leading the group of Republicans that wants to end the shutdown.

Collins said it would be a violation of the separation of powers for the president to consider taking funds that already have been appropriated for specific purposes, like disaster relief, and using them for unrelated purposes like building the border wall.

“We do need to strengthen our security at the border, but a shutdown is not the way to do it. I am continuing to work with my colleagues to find a solution,” she said.

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